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’ «.»
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».
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.
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…
Written by the Greek team: Kostas, Christos, Linos and Marina
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.
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.
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!! 🙂