Bridges! Not Walls – Migration in Dialogue is an 18-month cooperation between Eurobug Youth Work(IE) (Coordinator), EUROPIMPULSE (ES), Eurobug Lithuania (LT), and CGE Culture Goes Europe – Soziokulturelle Initiative Erfurt e.V.(DE) seeking to identify and challenge barriers of access between migrants and civil society, and to network several migrant communities into a transnational network for migrant civic engagement. This project is funded by Léargas through the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.
Hey, I am Sofia Sa, a professional tourist guide, who has lived and worked in Portugal, Spain, France, Poland, and Germany! I was drawn to this project activity because I have always enjoyed international spaces and learning languages that let me meet more people and explore more places. From 10 until 14 January, we had the Joint-Staff Mobility from the Project Migration in Dialogue, in Erfurt, Germany.
Monday started with the preparation of the activities for the week, a brainstorming of all ideas and objectives for the week. We had an online meeting with all participants. People from different countries (Spain, Ireland, Germany) shared their thoughts and ideas on a virtual board. We could share our opinions about our experiences in being a migrant, best practices from NGOs engaging with migrants.
During the week we interviewed people involved in other projects, organizations, and good initiatives happening in the city of Erfurt, in Germany. We achieved knowledge about good practices in migrant engagement.
We had the opportunity to learn more about the project Werkhaus Inklusion, from Platform e.V.. They support people from different backgrounds and migrants to start their own businesses in Germany. An example of an initiative from another previous similar project that happened in Erfurt, called Social Impulse Hub, is Dostlar. Asal, an entrepreneur that started a new business recently in Germany, shared with us the challenges to start a new project like this from a migrant perspective.
We also interviewed Natalia, a project member from the Think Social – Promoting Social Entrepreneurial Mindsets, a project engaging migrant women within social entrepreneurial opportunities.
All these inputs were important and soon it will be possible to see them in the video! 😊
On day 14, we had an online session with Kelvin Akpaloo. All young people joined in a collaborative session to share thoughts and ideas about migration topics. The goal was to contribute content and inputs for the youth exchange happening in June.
Kelvin started the session with a warm-up exercise. But Kelvin’s smile and energy is so contagious that quickly everybody was sharing important and interesting opinions about migration, integration, and human rights.
We discussed migration: the definition, which types of migration we know, and what means to be Human, to have human rights. Since when it exists human rights? We discovered that through a video showing some history and shared opinions how there’s still so much to do. How can we contribute for more human rights in our communities? What can change in my country to integrate better migrants?
All these topics were discussed and will keep be worked in the youth exchange. This youth exchange will be an important non-formal education activity that will hopefully give new perspectives about migration to young people.
In the afternoon, because it was a full activity day, we still had an intercultural games night; using games as a tool to overcome the lingual and cultural barriers between participants.
With participants from so diverse countries like France, Romania, Turkey, Russia…, it was possible to share new ideas, about which other activities they would like to happen in their city to feel more integrated.
We had a fun evening playing board games and learning new vocabulary from each other’s languages. To finalise the event, we played the German version of a famous word game called “StadtLandFluss”, where everybody writes a word starting from an alphabet letter. In this case, to make higher difficulty level we played in all languages that we know! 😀
Keep following what’s going to happen in the Migration in Dialogue Project because it promises to be the best! <3
P.S. Here are some quotes from our brainstorming session for the piloting youth exchange!
“organize/participate in open discussions about migration. in this way we get people talking about migration and its issues. we spread the word basically. and people will be more aware of various problems migrants face”
“It gives new perspectives and ideas to young people. So they share experiences and later can share with their family and friends for example”
“CREATE SAFE SPACES WHERE PEOPLE CAN FREELY TALK ABOUT THEIR ISSUES WITH THE AIM OF FINDING A WAY TO SOLVE IT TOGETHER IF THE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE IS NOT GETTING TO THE POINT”
“We do need more programs, to recognize them. To prove that minorities are not less than others.”
“Direct Provision as it stands now needs to be abolished. The entire asylum-seeking system needs to be restructured. The better effort needs to be made by the State in defending the rights of immigrants. Societal attitude towards migrants needs to be changed. More enforcement for no hate speech”
“It´s hard to move to European country. Simplification of visas – an important problem that countries could cooperate”
“In my home country, Romania, we have a few minority groups like Roma, Hungarians, and Turks. Unfortunately, Romanians tend to discriminate against these groups when talking about them & I think we need programs aimed at migrant integration, to show and teach people that migrants are not lesser people, they are not the ‘bad’ or ‘stupid’ ones”
“Spain needs to improve the measures to integrate people that had to migrate and have to act soon. Right-wing is getting stronger and the situation for those people will get worse”