"A mile in my shoes", a training course in Serbia
“A Mile in My Shoes” was a training course to discuss, work and learn more about inclusion and subjects related with volunteering.
For the first time, Agora Aveiro organized an Erasmus+ project out of Portugal. “A Mile in My Shoes” was a training course that occurred in Belgrade, Serbia. This training of 10 days occurred between 5th and 14th March of 2016. 22 young workers, professionals and volunteers, came together to learn, discuss and work about inclusion.
Young people from Portugal, Serbia, Hungary, Greece and Macedonia, the countries involved in the project, shared new methodologies to help to develop a more inclusive society and fight against stereotypes. After a few days of research and preparation, as well as a few conversations with experts, participants had the opportunity to work directly with refugees and asylum seekers from one of the shelters in Serbia. By doing so, they were able to better understand their stories and their past. This also created a better picture of how the search for a better and safer life is actually. In the center, they shared lunch with the refugees, played football with children from the Middle East, and heard the stories the immigrants shared with them.
Participants developed some activities and events in Belgrade. One of the activities was a local guerrilla action entitled "Hooks of Kindness". Several hooks were spread around Belgrade for locals to hang food they wanted to share or cloths they no longer needed. After a few weeks, this event has become completely viral in the Balkan countries and remains to this day.
Participants were even challenged to organize a "Human Library", and they were successful! It was an event in which more than 70 "readers" and about 10 "books" participated. These books included an Indian immigrant and refugees from Syria, Ghana, and Pakistan, as well as the professionals and volunteers who worked with them: a Greek volunteer from the island of Lesbos, a Lebanese resettlement officer, and some of the volunteers from Serbia.
This was the first time that Agora Aveiro organized a project outside our city, Aveiro, and it was a fantastic experience. According to Nataša Gološin, Project Manager at Agora Aveiro:
We felt we had to do something related to the current refugee crisis. Thus, we use the non-formal education approach to help find ways to promote the inclusion of immigrants and refugees. It didn’t make much sense to do it in Aveiro, so we went to Serbia to be closer to the people and better realize what they were going through. The idea was also to share some good practices with our international partners, and we did it. Now, each organization can use these methodologies to promote more inclusive communities.