Health4Youth – more than just fighting with tummy

An announcement of a new project in AEGEE is a good sign – it means that the organisation is developing and its members are interested in attracting attention to different topics hence changing this world for better. Health4Youth is the new promising project aimed at teaching us how to live better, and be healthy mentally and physically in this constantly changing world. The AEGEEan was lucky to meet with its initiators, Mayri Tiido (AEGEE-Tartu), Matthijs Overhaal (AEGEE-Nijmegen) and Katre-Helena Käppa (AEGEE-Tartu), who answered together our questions in the pause between hitchhiking all over Europe and raised the curtain over the Health4Youth project background.  

The AEGEEan: Before in AEGEE we had projects and working groups mainly focused on environment we are living in and how to save this environment from us. However, Health4Youth is something new explaining how to live properly in this environment and manage to arrange healthy lifestyle for yourself in the 21st century. How did you come with the idea of the project?

“Once upon a lifetime, Mayri had this wonderful thought of developing an awesome project for AEGEE. As she was wondering what the topic should be, she came across the health topic, which turned out into something more than a shadow of a thought. She shared her thoughts with Matthijs and Katre and that’s how she found two companions, both interested and with knowledge about the topic.

Matthijs and Mayri

Matthijs and Mayri

The idea was developed further during an 18-hour long bus trip from Tartu (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland). The three of us got together at the Training4Trainers event by AEGEE-Warszawa, where we brainstormed about possibilities, objectives, aims and many other aspects. We found out soon that we believe that a healthy lifestyle for students could be a key item in the future, or better yet, should already be a key subject. This is not the case, as many students are unaware of their (unintentional) bad habits, eating patterns, alternative therapies and so on.“

The AEGEEan: Which health issues you are going to tackle in this project?

“Our project deals with the health in a broad sense, where one idea is to have some focus on eating habits, how to eat cheap and healthy. Next to that we would like to explore the term “healthy lifestyle” and misconceptions about health, food, etc.”

The AEGEEan: How you are going to promote the healthy life style among AEGEE members, loving so much to spend sleepless nights, arrange crazy European Nights and parties? It must be challenging, isn’t it?

“As much as we like to party, booze ourselves to the ground and so on, we believe that the time we don’t party is the most important time to intervene with our project. Students as we are, we love to do crazy things and drink alcohol but we don’t do that 24/7 or 365 days a year. We are not here to tell you to stop boozing (our project would be dead in a second), we want to show you how you can live healthy for the rest of the time.”

The AEGEEan: How the ideal AEGEE member, involved in the Health4Youth project, should look like?

“Naturally, this is an active, participating member in AEGEE, but that alone will not get us very far with our project. This is not just a project for AEGEE alone, we want our members to spread their lifestyle to as many people as they know, their moms and dads, diabetic aunts, friends with a beer tummy, you name it. So basically involved people should be motivated and not afraid to share their knowledge. Sharing is caring, isn’t it?”

The AEGEEan: How did you three found each other in our big AEGEE community and came together to the common idea of the Health4Youth?

“As initial starters of this project, we already knew each other quite long before. Since Mayri and Katre are in the same antenna, it makes sense they knew each other. Since Mayri and Matthijs are a couple for more than a year, it makes even more sense. Since Matthijs was in Estonia quite many times already, you can put together all the pieces. The three of us were together during an exchange in Estonia with AEGEE-Praha, the Training4Trainers event in Warsaw and at the last Agora in Enschede.”

 Katre-Helena Käppa

Katre-Helena Käppa

The AEGEEan: Which are the first practical things you are going to implement in this project as soon as the deadline of open call for the Health4Youth project team members is finished and project team will start working?

“The team has to be put together and they can also share their ideas and thoughts so we can’t give you an exact answer yet. But here are a few examples of ideas:

– A blog about healthy food which will be updated often, with a diverse offer of (student) dishes
– Workshops at the Agora or EBM about a healthy lifestyle for students
And mainly, stay tuned for more!”

The AEGEEan: Please, continue the sentence “The Health4Youth project is an awesome project because…”
“…it aims to make our awesome lives healthier in an interactive way!”

If you are interested learning more about this project, check the project outline here and do not hesitate to write to H4Y team at to ask any questions or join the project team. Do not be shy to start your healthy life today!

Written by Olga Iatsyna, AEGEE-Dnipropetrovsk

Pictures: Archives of Mayri Tiido