What is Can Do Refugees?


Can Do Empowerment is a three years project within the KA2 Erasmus + Program

The main objective of this project is to empower trainers and trainees working with Migrants and Refugees. The innovative approach of this project is the implementation of diverse artistic pedagogics such as the Improvisation Theatre and Animation and Stop Motion techniques.

The aim of the project is to professionalize and to empower people working with refugees on a professional and voluntary basis. Therefore the project combines the experience of practitioners in NGOs (via Bayern (Germany), progestion (Spain), eurocircle (France) and the knowledge of universities (University of Thessaly uth (Greece), American University of Cairo (egypt). This consortium also reflects the route of refugees coming to Europe, often coming from Arabic speaking countries, using Egypt as a transit country and then coming through the Balkan route (Greece) or the Mediterranean route (Spain) to the destination countries France and Germany. The project will be present itself on a website and it’s actual milestones on face book. 

These mix of methodologies will be used as a basis for developing practical tools such as manuals, articles, videos, booklets and other training aides which are to be communicated in a variety of different ways to maximize the impact and sustainability of this initiative and implemented in the empowerment, facilitation of anti-discrimination work. During the exchange meetings experiences with proven empowering anti-discrimination strategies and approaches will be shared and on basis of this exchange concrete products will be developed. The dissemination of findings will happen in the last year of the project. Expert meetings, conferences, workshops, publications and trainings will be organized.

Can Do Refugees and the COVID-19

Due to the global and pandemic situation caused by the COVID-19, we decided to postpone our LTTA meeting scheduled for June 2020 in Greece.
On behalf of all the Can Do Refugees team we hope you are healthy and taking good care of yourself and your beloved ones. In these uncertain times it’s important that we stay together and holding to our values of unity, solidarity, empathy, respect and love.

Second day in Marseille, by Marina & Anne

How to divide the cake?!!

The activities were very useful in making everyone reflect on different issues and gave a lot of
opportunities for discussion. We had the opportunity to reflect on different topics like equality,
democracy, justice and consensus.
The Betzavta exercise was a lot of fun for everybody and we had the chance to have a whole team discussion at the end.

About the presentation of refugees in Germany, there are many things really important which have been said:
1) If we work with refugees, we do not have to feel like a super hero, because If we will be in front of a really hard situation and we think “yes I can do it” but in reality I don’t have the skills for, I would not be helping people.
2) We spoke about the “relationship” we have to have with refugees. Do we have to distinguish the professional and private or not? That was really interesting. I think maybe the question is more about equality, how we can feel “equal” with refugees? and just find the ways which are good for us.
3) I just also remember one really important question someone said: “how we can continue with this work?

About the activities on the afternoon, that was really intense and rich in my opinion. Cohesion is very
, so I learnt that I need to be less attached to my idea and listen to other people s ideas with new vision. Also, I just questioned myself about how we can express ourselves and also listen to other people s ideas? When that’s good time to do it and why that’s so important for me?

For the collective game with the Betzavta method , the most important thing I learnt was in two aspects: the first one is we have previous to do some activities and even if the new activity was very different, I didn’t feel frustration because we were in a group, and that was a new experience. Also I didn’t think about rules, because I was feeling in positive way, so I wasn’t in an insecure situation.

Social, economical, legal and political situation of Refugees in different countries

Third day in Marseille, by Léa & Kevin

This day begun by a visit of Marseille who teach us the history of the city, and the way migration influenced the history of the city. For example, there was a prison camp who kept (illegally) and tried to deport refugees who had sometime the right to stay. Corporations employed also Italians minors’ worker illegally.

We also visit some famous places of Marseille like, the Mucem which is a museum, the Major Cathedral and Le Panier district. As local citizen (“marseillais”), these places with a lot of history made us learn more things about our town.

In the afternoon we had 2 presentation about the migrant and refugee situation:
The 1 st was about migrant travelling on boats, pictures of them before and after. This part was interesting because we learned more about the personal story of refugees. They are not simple number in institutional documents but human-beings who feel and they deserve to be listened. Our participant Corinne told us about a project called JANA (Jeunes Allophones Nouvellement Arrivés), who showed us how they’re learning French language at the association and what kind of activities they do with young people involved in the project. During a short video, young people shared their dreams and their personal or professional aim in life. Léa : It was really intense for me because those young people are actually living in Marseille and they have to face many difficulties every day but they also
keep the hope.

What I’ve learned this days is that even when you are living in a difficult situation, as a
migrant or refugee in another country, there is some dream that cannot be erased, and people keep dreaming even if it’s difficult. They seem to have post traumatic syndrome due to special situations they are actually living but they continue to fight and need to be helped as much as we can.

First day of Marseille! by Katrin

The first day!? We met all the people, the one we knew already from other meetings and the new one.To get to know more about each other, to get a feeling for the people and the group and to get introduce or in my case to introduce people to project, our aims, methods, goals. We st the first framework of the agenda and got the first contributions. I’am exited what is waiting for us the coming days in this gorgeous city….!

The 3rd day of our LTTA meeting! by Laura and Bea from Progestion

The schedule for this day is really complete and full of enriching activities. We started the day with an activity carried out by Ellie, from Germany, about building cohesion in groups in which the members speak different languages, or people with disabilities and do not know each other. We had to communicate without talking, relying on non verbal communication or the knowledge that we already had about the others. We had to place ourselves in increasing order regarding the hours it took for us to get to the place where we were, Montes Claros, and according to our age. We also had to place ourselves in relation to an imaginary
spot representing Spain, showing where we live, where we were born, where our parents were born and where we would like to live in the future.

It was a nice way to get to know more about group members and it also served as a
representation of how migration is a world’s structural dynamic that has involved our families and the society in general from the beginning of history. It shows that migration is not only about the poor looking for better chances to improve their life (which is, of course, a 100% valid reason) but about sharing languages, cultures, lifestyles, etc. throughout the world and enriching societies with diversity, increasing their flexibility and adaptation to changes.

Right after, we enjoyed an activity carried out by Merat, from Egypt, based on Egypt’ situation, as a transit country for migrants and asylum seekers, that want to reach Europe, and how they get stuck in Egypt because of the European policies on national security and closing borders. Egypt is now an externalized border for Europe and it is dealing with increasing numbers of people coming mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, and surrounding African countries. Myrat told us about the discrimination that migrants are suffering due to their nationality and that is explained by how Egypt understands international relations, and also due to the color of their skin. We were informed about the few possibilities that migrants have to be included in the labour market, especially those with high education levels. She also shared with us information about her work experience and about other NGOs working on the same field.

Later on, Katrin, German and head of the project, gave a brief introduction to the
phenomenon of trauma and mirror neurons to facilitate the understanding on post traumatic stress disorder, occasionally experienced by migrants. Rafik, from Egypt, continued on the issue talking about his experience as a volunteer in the Greek island of Lesbos and Moria refugee camp. He went through some tough moments while being there and we were all grateful because of the generosity he showed talking about such a difficult experience. In order to cheer up the group. Katrin proposed an activity related to resilience and alternatives to take care of ourselves and our mental health by finding hobbies, habits,thoughts, etc that bring peace to our minds and are a source of alleviation. We also enjoyed an activity related to imagination and relaxation consisting on picturing in our minds a peaceful place on full detail.

After lunch and given the general mood of the group, the coordinators decided that it would be good for everyone to do the first activity of the afternoon outdoors, in order to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful nature we had in such a wonderful location. We walked in pairs exchanging why we were motivated to work with migrants and to participate in the CanDoRefugees meeting. Afterwards, we returned to have some energizers and keep the group energy high. Nonetheless, we were all quite tired after the intense morning we had.

The last activity of the day was a briefing regarding Open Space. This methodology implies that a variety of activities and workshops are scheduled, some of them at coincident times, and participants choose freely which one they want to attend. In case they have chosen an activity, they do not need to stay until it finishes, but they can move to another one that is more useful for them. It is not rude to leave the group; the leader of the activity understands that it is not what the person that leaves the group needs, plus the ones who stay are actually motivated and interested. We discussed about the difficulties this method could mean for some of the people, mainly due to their culture, since Greeks and Spanish usually feel that it is disrespectful to leave a group. Some participants then offered themselves as leaders of activities or workshops and the scheduled was planned for Saturday morning.

After dinner, part of the group stayed outside, playing the guitar, singing and sharing conversations, in a cold night full of stars.
¿Could have been a better way to end this awesome day? we don’t think so…

First day of our LTTA in Spain

By the Spanish coordinator: Iman

Our first day in Montesclaros was full of emotions, expectations and energy to learn and share and meet the group!!

The day started with several ice breakers that made us have fun and got to know each others a little bit more, at least with our names!

Once we felt that we are all at the same page, Katrin showed a presentation of the Can Do Refugees project, telling participants about it history, it outcomes and it objectives

After explaining the agenda for the 5 days, we took some break to have a quick turn around the 8th Century Monastery where our meeting was taking part.

At the end of the day, we had the certainty that our meeting was going to be rich of experiences that will make us grow on a personal and on a professional level… Looking forward to share these days with you!! 🙂

Our last day together in Spain (5th)

Aaaand it’s already time for the conclusion !
Katrin made us a surprise, she distributed to us some nice postcards to fill up with “the letters for our futur us” that she will then sent to us in three months !
Eventually, each of us received his diploma and…an Easter egg! Because that the way everyone should receive a diploma : with chocolate.

After what we gathered one last time in the seminar room so each of us can express in a few words their feelings about those four days.
For the majority of us it was intense, for some it was new, for others it was a great opportunity to escape the stress of their daily life while continuing to work in different ways, for all it was the occasion of creating a network, discovering methods, sharing and learning.
And probably a bit more of all of this.

The responsability to write the conclusion is quite heavy for our shoulders, so we won’t make it longer than that…or maybe we’ll just add the words of Linos (or was it Costas ?) “I leave here ‘MAYBE’, and I bring home ‘CAN DO’ “.”

“Aand here we are ! Up for a new day ! (4th)

Written by the French team: Léa, Francesca, Anaïs and Adelaide

The morning was devoted to an “Open space workshops”, each of us was invited to propose an activity to share his knowledge. We were free to move from one worshop to another.

Ellie (Germany) started with a pedagogical tool: “Visual sierung”.

A tool to highlight the importance of the visual, the colors, the image and the aesthetic presentation of informations. An important method to facilitate learning and trigger reflection.

At the same time, downstairs in the dinning room, Amira (Germany/Ethiopia) explained a method she implements over several months: “Coaching through biography”, with which she accompanies Ethiopian migrants in identifying their skills through life course analysis, which they express in their mother tongue.

Then it was Merit’s turn (Egypt) to propose the “Problem solving tree”. This device allows you to quickly find a solution to a professional or personal problems: the roots are the causes, the trunk exposes the problem and the foliage represents the effects.
In the meantime, Laura and Iman (Spain) presented their project “WARMI – Intervention with women”: they open their “Progestion” centre to migrant women, mainly from South America, to free and let circulate their word, this space offers them psychological support, social and legal assistance and cultural activities.

For those who needed some physical activity, they could attend Francesca’s one (France). She facilitated a musical activity around a working song “Pick a bale of cotton”: The choreography, the singing and the coordination between the participants focus on the inclusion.

Finally, Linos, Costas, Christos and Marina (Greece) presented their project “ROUTES: Reshaping Our Universe Through Educational Synergies”, which brings together three partners: youngsters from the University of Thessaloniki, from the Second Chance school and young reefugees. The activities include the discovery of each other’s culture, through informal methods and activities related to nature.After a great lunch, trying not to eat too much, and a nice coffee in the sun, trying not to get a sunburn, we went back to work.

We all gathered in the seminar room to hear Anouk (Netherland/Egypt) presents us with a map of the city of Cairo showing us the neighbourhoods populated by migrants. She talks to us about the difficulties of educating children according to their origins.

Second day in Spain!

Written by the Greek team: Kostas, Christos, Linos and Marina

MontesClaros Monastery…

After overcoming the jet lag of the first day, we woke up in the iconic Hospederia de Montes Claros, ready to get down to work. We started our day with some warm-up and ice-break activities that brought all the members of the group closer and pointed out the good atmosphere and feeling of the meeting.

All the participants expressed their expectations and the agenda of the meeting was presented by Katrin the coordinator of the project.

During the first break of the day, there was a guided tour in the monastery and the church that have a long and rich history.

One of the interesting part came when we had a study visit runned by a historiographer that belongs to the Monastery. Thanks to it, we could have an overall idea about the place where we were living and it rich history

After lunch, the Greek team presented various activities that familiarized the participants with ways of working with refugees and migrants and gave some helpful insights about the situation of refugees in Greece. At the end of the evening session, a music workshop carried out by Francesca, a participant from the French  team, relaxed all the participants and ended the official program of the first day in the best way.

But, the night was still young and everybody was full of energy and good vibes, so the social program continued in the nearby pub.

Meet Elli from Germany

Hi everybody! 
My name is Elli – in fact Elzbieta, as I was born in Poland. My life in Germany started at the age of three. Now I am very lucky to live in Berlin, a wonderful city full of contrasts. 

I have been working as a project manager and youthworker since 2007, first in the Krzyzowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe in Polen, since 2013 for the Kreisau-Initiative e.V. in Berlin. I am working in the field of international inclusion, where I am developing, implementing and coordinating international inclusive youth exchanges and trainings. 

What true inclusion needs is the modification of existing systems and a change of mind-set. This is what I am working for! 

The term inclusion is often associated with disabled people, but in the way I understand inclusion, it is only one part of the picture. Of course, one aim of such projects is to make them accessible to those target groups that have been under-represented so far. But it also means creating a space where all young people regardless of their backgrounds, abilities and possibilities can meet, develop and experience diversity….and than magic happens. It is beautiful. 

I am happy to meet you and to get to know more about your experiences in this colourful world – and of course I am happy to share mine 🙂