This book is based on thirty memorable life stories of youngsters who set out on a walk. How do they remember the trek? How do they look back on it? What did that journey mean for the rest of their lives? Also thirty compagnons voice their thoughts - parents, counselors and juvenile court judges.
Oikoten, a non-profit organisation, has been organising walks and projects for youngsters in youth detention centres for thirty years. The youngsters in question who finish the trek get a second chance in life. More than 450 youngsters have already set out to Santiago de Compostela and other places.
These are people who come from a broken home, who have not had an easy childhood. The trek was their gateway to a better future. Being on the road for three months in a strange country, covering more than two thousand kilometers on foot. Spending the day walking through mountain ranges and stormy weather with the same few people day in day out... At 16 or 17 that is an unbelievably tough experience. They didn't know what they were getting into, but it will later prove to have been a turning point in their lives.
However, that does not mean that their lives are now perfect. Just like during the walk, they stumble upon many obstacles on their way. But the journey they undertook when they were teenagers keeps inspiring and empowering them.
The thirty interviews were done by ex-counselors. Research and editing by Phara de Aguirre and Stefaan Vermeulen.
Title: Ik dus naar Compostela ('So I walked to Compostela')
Subtitle: Jong geweld op zoek naar een uitweg ('Young violence looking for a way out')
Authors: Phara de Aguirre and Stefaan Vermeulen
Publisher: Lannoo, Tielt
Price: 19,99 euro