21 November, 2023

No Border Fest 23’ Workcamp

Volunteers gather for No Borders Fest

From 10th to 25th November 2023 and ahead of the 13th edition of the No Border Fest, 14 international volunteers arrived from Spain, Portugal, France, Albania, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy to Rome, to offer support, during the two weeks, ‘tidying up the space of “La Città dell’Utopia”’ leading up to the festival and also during the festival.

About the festival

The No Border Fest was back in its 13th edition for the weekend of 21st and 22nd November 2023. This fest was created in 2009, during the wave of mobilisations against the oppressive security measures, the festival’s aspiration has always been to provide a meeting place for the people opposed to the criminalisation of traveling and the experience of migration.

It bears testimony to the ability of the human spirit to overcome borders without prejudice or securitarian lenses, by creating connections among people.

This year’s No Border Fest is being organised by an alliance of like-minded organisations: International Civil Service Italy, Laboratorio 53, the cultural association terra/TERRA, Associazione SenzaConfine, Eduraduno, Mediterranea – Saving Humans, Melitea, Refugees in Lybia, Storie di Mondi Possibili, Azione Comune di Pace, Associazione Senza Confine, Forum per cambiare l’ordine delle cose, Cultural Pro and Se questa è Roma.

This was a time for people to share experiences, testimonies, food, book presentations and talks, screenings and open debates about the main issues addressed on the fest by all of the participant associations. The idea is for the people to reunite in the space provided by “La Città dell’Utopia” and take active part in the activities such as music, theater, workshops and talks about different topics to do with the festival.

Since the beginning this festival has been organized with the aim of creating a community spirit in the neighborhood of San Paolo. Throughout these years this fest has welcomed many artists of different branches and visitors.

About the ESC teams project

Two people standing in front of the posters they laid out, gesturing to the posters and smiling

This festival has also been made possible through the support of a large number of local and international activists and volunteers who come and help before and during the festival. A week before the actual festival takes place, the volunteers arrived, there was still a lot to do and organize before everything was ready for the main event; so their duty in these days consisted on undertaking various tasks, including cleaning and caring for the venue, and making presentations, all to ensure that the festival will take place smoothly and for attendees to enjoy the event to the fullest. The first few days of the arrival of the new volunteers were dedicated to getting to know each other and the space through games and non-formal education activities.

One of the main ideas behind a festival about migration is to inspire people to actively engage in celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity and advocating for a positive change in the view of society regarding migration and refugees. It encourages individuals to take part in the festival, educate themselves, support migrants and refugees, and use their voices and resources to make a meaningful impact on a global issue.

The volunteers contributed, with their time and skills to make a significant impact, throughout the festival they were advocates of this project, encouraged to used their voices for human rights and shared and celebrated the beauty of diversity, languages and traditions to enrich the community.

4 people covering their faces with No Borders fest posters

The festival is a call to action for all, we call upon the participants to become beacons of inclusivity and equality between peers to create a world where everyone, regardless of their background, feels welcomed and valued. The creation of this festival seeks to represent a movement, a chance to make a difference, to be a part of a global community that stands for love, compassion and unity, to inspire change , challenge the stereotypes and build a more inclusive view of the world. Use your voice and your platform to advocate for human rights. You can follow us on social media to stay informed about our events, workcamps and initiatives.

With the invaluable support of dedicated volunteers and passionate activists, the weekend was full of both bliss and a good vibe that allowed us to form a good space for exchange. Although this is purely my point of view, for anyone who has any doubts, I asked some of the ESC Volunteering Teams project members about their experience of participating in the no border festival:

“I wanted to do a project in which I would feel useful in which we have some physical work and some time to work on the organization of the festival based on migration”. “I think my favorite part of the workcamp is to meet new people from all of europe, discover new cultures and new ways of thinking, I think is what really makes me grow as a person”- Axel

“I was very interested in the topic of the festival because I’m studying migrant policy, we are recently studying about minorities in Europe” – Suzune

Two people smiling at the camera

(Suzune, left, Axel right)

This project was funded by the European Union through the European Solidarity Corps programme and supported by the Agenzia Nazionale per i Giovani.

Partner associations: Experimentáculo, PVN Albania, Volonterski centar Zagreb, Service Civil International France, SIW Internationale Vrijwilligersprojecten e Servicio Civil Internacional.

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