For the first time, Agora Aveiro organised an Erasmus+ project to be held out of Portugal. “A Mile in My Shoes” was a training course that took place in Belgrade, Serbia. This ten-day training lasted from the 5th to the 14th of March, 2016. 22 youth workers, professionals and volunteers, gathered to learn, discuss, and work on inclusion and issues associated with refugees.
People from Portugal, Serbia, Hungary, Greece and Macedonia, the countries involved in the project, shared new methodologies to help develop a more inclusive society and fight against stereotypes. After a few days of research and preparation, as well as some conversations with experts, the participants had the chance to work directly with the refugees and asylum seekers from one of Serbia’s hosting centres. By doing so, they were able to better understand their stories and backgrounds. This also painted a better picture of how this search for a better and safer life looks like in reality. At the centre, they shared lunch with the refugees, played football with little kids from the Middle East, and listened to the stories the immigrants shared with them.
Afterwards, the participants developed a few activities and events in Belgrade. One of these was a guerrilla activity named “Hooks of Kindness
“. Several hooks were placed around Belgrade for the local to hang food that they could share or clothes that they no longer used. After just a few weeks, this event went completely viral all over the Balkans and still exists
to this day.
The participants were also challenged to organise a “Human Library“, and they well succeeded! It was an event with more than 70 “readers” and around 10 “human books”. Some of these books included an immigrant from India and refugees from Syria, Ghana, and Pakistan, and professionals and volunteers who have been working with them, a Greek volunteer from Lesbos’ Island, a Lebanese resettlement officer, and some of the volunteers from Serbi
This was the first time that Agora Aveiro organised a project outside of our town, Aveiro, and it was an amazing experience. “We felt that we had to do something regarding the present refugee crises. Therefore, we used a non-formal educational approach to help find ways to promote the inclusion of immigrants and refugees. It didn’t make a lot of sense to do it in Aveiro, so, we went to Serbia to be closer to these people and better understand what they are going through. The idea was also to share some good practices with our international partners, and we managed that. Now each of the organisations can use these methodologies in order to promote more inclusive communities“ – says Nataša Gološin from Agora Aveiro