Looking back it seems that the EU youth exchange “Europe and its borders” happened in the right moment. We didn’t thought, when we were writing the first application one and a half years, that the media coverage about the precarious circumstances of refugees would even increase this year.
The sad message is that within the borders of Europe around one million people are still on the run. Most of them have no access to papers or to things essential for live. Even if their living is secured, they are deprived from participation and from social live. Sometimes for years. The state institutions seemed to be parallelized. Daily live of the concerned people are a humanitarian and social catastrophe. In the middle of the richest region of the world.
Nevertheless over the last decades a rich landscape of NGO and also informal networks have dedicated their engagement to the support of migrants. The aim if the exchange was to strengthen those initiatives and to encourage young people to take on initiative for refugee support.
The 12 days have been dedicated to networking, learning new skills relevant for refugee support and to exchange about of new project ideas.
The days where filled with a divers program: During the lectures of already existing initiatives the
participants could gain insights about the organizational structures and get to know the impact of groups who started once as a project idea. Group discussions and reflections helped to get all the participants on the same stage, concerning the thematic area migration, flight and Europe.
We showed two documentaries to get visual impression and more information about the topic. Furthermore methodological and organizational workshops where held, to hand over tools for the creation of new initiatives Next to all theoretical inputs, we didn’t want to leave aside the practice and the human aspect and therefore organized meetings with refugees in Vienna, cooked together, did sports and listened to stories. For the participants from Berlin an antirassist city tour was organized, that showed the sometimes hidden places of racism in Vienna.
Luckily we also had the opportunity to corporate with the “Migrant Solidarity workshop week”, with whom we shared part of the space. We profited from their creative workshops and the participants helped to create DIY goodies with political messages (T-shirts, bags and buttons) who were used latter on to raise funds for the Migrant Solidarity Network.
We want to thank everyone for the passive, active, individual and collective collaboration: EU/Erasmus+, for the funding, the Österreichische Hochschülerinnenschaft for the room, the migrant solidarity workshop week for there creativity, the individuals for sharing their stories and the initiatives for inputs (Kama, watch the Med. Initiative für Solidarische Literatur, Migrant Solidarity Morocco). And of course we thank our participants as well as Memfarado for there great working experience, organization and hosting.