The Journey! Stories of Migration, Tales of Inclusion part I
The first part of the youth exchange “The Journey! Stories of Migration, Tales of Inclusion” took place in Cardiff, UK from December 1st to December 9th 2016. Participants from Belgium, Cyprus, FYROM, Greece, Italy and the UK came together to develop and promote a new positive narrative of inclusion, by meeting in person some migrants and refugees and listening to their stories.
The exchange started with the first day being fully devoted to ice breaking, teambuilding and communication activities. On the following day the participants received inputs about some data and figures on migration and refugees in Europe in recent years and also shared with the group members the situation in their own countries. After enjoying a free Sunday to discover the city of Cardiff, the participants got back to work the next day to accumulate themselves with some basics on storytelling and explored the main elements of a story. In the meantime, some of them had the chance to visit a migrant and refugee support provider center, where participants and refugees drew and wrote together about what makes them cope with pain and loss. Later on, participants were divided in groups where they had to create short stories about migration through an artistic/creative storytelling methodology (stop-motion video, spoken poetry and photovoice). On the next day the entire group had the chance to visit the local NGO ‘Oasis’ where they had lunch with refugees and the opportunity to play football and board games with them and chat informally. Participants returned to the hostel both excited, as well as puzzled by these encounters. As the exchange was reaching to an end, to enhance the team spirit but also to get a feeling of a boat trip in cold waters, the group went for rafting. As a concluding activity they all had then to present through a story or a video how their narratives on migration were changed. An outcome of that were the short stories ‘Dear diary’ and ‘Orange Pink Sea’. The last night, all short stories, videos, presentations of the participants, as well as personal tales of migrants of Cardiff, were presented to the public in a final event and exhibition at Cardiff M.A.D.E., a local cultural center.
Another two crucial parts of the youth exchange were the implementation of the pilot project EBA (European Badges Alliance) and the development of an action plan by each country, which will enable the project to continue in February in Thessaloniki. Regarding EBA, participants had to assess and reflect at the end of each day what skill or competence they had developed through the day’s activity, which enabled them to get a better understanding of their gained knowledge and learning process.
All in all, the exchange was very enlightening, regarding both the opportunity to listen to personal stories from migrants and refugees themselves as well as the chance to explore a more creative form of education through drawing, poem writing, video-making, etc. and understand how the skills participants developed can be put into a wider context.