We live in times in which the overwhelming humanitarian crisis takes away lives, homes, well-being and dignity of millions of people on the move. Many of those people are exposed to extreme suffering. It happens on our watch. Many of us, who witness this suffering from the other side of the “wall” remain passive in face of injustice and, even if we want to act, we often
lack a clear idea where and how to start influencing and changing the situation for better. In the surge of such a vast and overwhelming crisis we are often unable to see the value and significance of small-scale actions.
This booklet represents the bits and pieces of thoughts we exchanged and reflected upon within the project Solidarity Architects; youth deconstructing walls of exclusion, a project made in cooperation between CULTURE GOES EUROPE – Soziokulturelle InitiativeErfurt e.V. (Germany), Volonterski centar Vojvodine (Serbia), Peace Action (Macedonia) and Utilapu Halozat (Hungary). The project aimed to address the increasingly growing need for solidarity – as a resistance to indifference, apathy and insufficient policy responses to humanitarian crisis of our time – and emphasize the importance of taking responsibility over shaping and creating own surroundings, societies. It was implemented through two Youth Exchanges that took place in Hütten, Germany and Mali Idjos, Serbia, 2017-2018. Each exchange brought together over 20 young people from Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Germany.
The Youth Exchange 1 examined solidarity through time-traveling to historical points which could enable us to learn about the interplay of displacement, exclusion and solidarity actions. We took a closer look into the reality of WWII, aiming to understand how common people responded to the persecution and captivity of those who were seen as an outcast of the society. While doing so, we examined the obstacles towards altruistic action and explored the relationships of solidarity, privileges, personal responsibility and power dynamics.
The Youth Exchange 2 shed the light upon the practical aspects of solidarity. We got to know about the various activist approaches to the current refugee and humanitarian crisis, and their impact on both refugees and host societies. While reviving the spirit of Solidarity, we tried to teach each other how interdependence, responsibility, and support interact both in
everyday life, and in times of crisis. These are some of the reflections that helped us finding our own ways and means to translate this great habit of heart – Solidarity – into the actual small scale actions which will be implemented in Germany, Hungary, Macedonia and Serbia.