A route to connect

January - December 2017

The idea

A Route To Connect project focused on spreading awareness about the refugee situation in the Balkan route, giving a voice to the stories of refugees and empowering youngsters to take action.

The project was part of the Building Bridges campaign of SCI.

The project aimed at building bridges between European society and refugees, as to promote a more inclusive and peaceful society. In particular:

1

raising awareness about the conditions of refugees

2

spreading and disseminating stories of refugees

3

activating and empowering youngsters

4

giving visibility to local associations and actions run by refugees

5

reaching various components of European society with a realistic image of refugees

Explore our tools, activities and methods through the specially created Building Bridges portal

The activities

The main activities of the project are an inspirational preparatory seminar in Spain, a field trip to the Balkans and local follow up events around Europe.

Seminar: Learn and Get Inspired from the Past

Alt Empordà (Catalonia, Spain), 10 – 15 March 2017

Participants had the opportunity to explore the history of the Spanish civil war and to revisit the topic of forced migration. The participants followed the refugee route and got introduced to great historical spots: Elna Maternity Hospital, the venue of the concentration camp Argeles, Exile Memorial Museum etc. Local witnesses, experts and activists were invited to share their knowledge. Participants were encouraged to create a short video which contributed to a final video: PATH stories behind borders.

A Route To Connect field study trip

Slovenia – Croatia – Serbia – Macedonia – Greece, 15 May – 2 June 2016 

The participants travelled along the Balkan route and met refugees, locals, local governments, NGOs and volunteers. The aim of the journey was to give a voice to the refugees by collecting and distributing their stories and activate the refugees in the camps by setting an example of youth and volunteer work. After the study trip the participants followed up on the experience and created local projects with a team back home during the summer of 2017.

Awareness Raising Campaign

June – December 2017

Participants of the field study trip implemented local public events in their home countries concentrated around three key dates: World Refugee Day (20 June), International Youth Day (12 August) and International Day Of Peace (21 September).

Resources

The Building Bridges Toolkit

It is a toolkit, as well as a web platform, designed to share the know-how on voluntary projects that involve asylum seekers and refugees, or that raise awareness on forced migration. It includes case studies, guidelines and methods you can use.

Partners and supporters

The team

The A Route To Connect Trainer Team was responsible for the implementation of the project. The members of the team organized key activities and ensured the quality of projects outputs.

The team comprised of the following members:

Sabine

“I am a clown and storyteller. I have been working with refugees and disadvantaged communities for over 10 years using art as a vehicle for psycho-social support. I believe in the power of laughter and play and I am super excited that we will have them all during the A Route to Connect project.”

Aleksandra

“I am an activist that stumbled upon humanitarian work in 2015, with the influx of refugees in need of aid and services through the Balkans. During the peak of the crisis, I organised volunteers and allocated aid, and found creative ways to support the refugees in their movement as well as communicate and coordinate with fellow volunteers and organisations providing aid on different points on the route.”

Yahu

“I am a yoga teacher and I study traditional medicine. Being concerned with our beautiful planet and humanity, I was studying war and peace in this world for a long time. Today the human values of people on this planet are in a critical state. Through projects like this we can show more and more to people what is happening at the borders, and create solidarity networks with people that are being criminalised and forgotten.”

Sonja

“Since joining the organisation Volunteers’ Centre of Vojvodina in 2015 (Serbian branch of SCI), I started learning about the current refugee situation in Europe. We in VCV did a lot of benefit actions in order to collect funds and aid for volunteers and refugees in Serbia. Since November 2016, I became active in field work, mostly in the northern part of Serbia. I look forward to taking a step further in this experience through A Route to Connect project.”

Suvi

I am currently carrying out an EVS project at the International Secretariat of SCI in Antwerp, Belgium. I coordinate the Building Bridges Campaign, which aims to raise awareness on the issues facing those seeking refuge and asylum. I have several years of experience volunteering with immigrant children in Finland. I look forward to learning more and face new challenges during A Route to Connect project.

Project partners

Supporters

The A Route to Connect project was supported by the European Youth Foundation and the Council of Europe.