Education and training as a cornerstone. The eighth year of Escalator through the participants’ eyes

Escalator Stories

The last three organizations of this year’s program devote time to people in Košice and deal with the topics that often divide our society. They talk about how education and training help them to overcome challenges. It is the graphic design studio BRUT.TO, which cooperates with people with disabilities, ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development working with the Roma community, and Saplinq, o.z. helping the LGBTI community in the Eastern part of Slovakia.

BRUT.TO, Tereza Sejková & Zuzana Kutašová

So far, I consider Escalator to be very positive! The online version of the program has its cons (I miss the personal contact) and pros (I can attend it from anywhere). We really like the relaxed atmosphere of the educational process, where lectors talk about the topics with ease and are open to dialogue.

I consider education and training essential to develop and not stagnate, which relates to us and our project as well. It is like a cornerstone for us. It is vital to know where you are heading, and Escalator helps us discover the way. Our mentor, Paul Bogen, makes every mentoring session very enriching, and it brings many “out of the box “insights.

In our project BRUT.TO, we have come to the point where we need to set a specific structure and a vision. We were appealed by the idea to approach our project courageously and optimistically. We are a bit jealous of other organizations that could experience the in-person program because networking is obviously easier that way. We have known some of the participants even before the program and hope to stay in touch after the end of Escalator, or maybe we will create cooperations somehow.

ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development, Veronika Poklembová

Subjectively, I perceive Escalator as very fast. However, I appreciate the regular rhythm of workshops. I am happy that people in our team are interested in it, want to be part of the training process and thus the great atmosphere is being created in a team. The English language is a bit problematic for some of them, but we are trying to find a way.

Life is a change, and we need to “update “our previously sufficient knowledge in the past. We see challenges as an opportunity for creativity and new solutions. During the discussions, there are many inputs, and I try more to listen and think about them. And it’s not only me. Our weekend planning was a great space to go deeper in these discussions. It’s a creative process.

With our mentor Sandy Fitzgerald, we also had a workshop about the ETP story – we put projects and personal milestones on a timeline and then added stories about people we accompanied during the years. In summer, we will celebrate 25 years from the official registration of the Civic association ETP – Centre for Sustainable Development, and almost 30 years since the first beginnings of our current work.

For the last two years, it is my third networking-educational program (the first one was in the context of middle and East Europe, the second one covered Slovakia, and the third one is Escalator, where many of the organizations come from the East of Idon’tta). I don’t do it because I have a lot of spare time, but because I want to understand what is happening around me, know about the current trends, and network. I have become the director of ETP in a relatively short time, and therefore, I try to continually work on myself and create such space for development also for my team.

Saplinq, o.z., Róbert Furiel

Escalator is an interesting development program with two sides – the educational character and the dimension of connecting people throughout Slovakia. Many types of organizations participate in it, making the discussions during the training very diverse and exciting. It is beneficial for us to recap some of the education topics and think about the assignments we are given. This brings new outlooks and forces us to think about our organization in a new light.

Education happens whether you want it or not. But planned education in a relatively safe training environment or mentoring conversations is better than learning from your own mistakes. Without education, neither you nor the organization can move forward to fulfill its mission. Saplinq, o.z. is basically an educational institution, so learning is natural for us.

It is too soon to talk about our development so far. But it is beneficial that we’re “forced ” to stop and think about our organization in the context of a particular topic or mentoring discussion. I guess that it is the same with all the organizations belonging to the third sector, that we have more work than time, and therefore this stop can create space for the needed reflection.

Escalator was supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.