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  • Erasmus+

Build homes, in the times of walls

One more time, Agora Aveiro gathered youth workers and young activists and volunteers from all over Europe in Aveiro to discuss topics that are very pertinent.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 15 seconds

The training entitled “Build Homes, Not Walls” was financed by the Erasmus+ programme and took place in the Museum of Aveiro, with the support of the Aveiro City Hall. It lasted 10 days, from 19-28 March 2022, and involved a group of curious and motivated participants and trainers who shared with them their experience and knowledge when it comes not only to the concepts but also to specific tools that can be used to promote inclusion and nurture diversity.

Participants came from seven countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Portugal, which guaranteed different backgrounds, perspectives and points of view. However, the objective was shared - and now they all are ready to put efforts to raise awareness of issues that migrants face in their local communities, promote inclusion and facilitate dialogues between the locals and newcomers.

One of the immediate results of the training was the Human Library event that took place on Saturday, March 26th in FNAC in Aveiro, where dialogue opportunities were created between five immigrants, one professional working with them and the local population of Aveiro. Participants were able to hear stories of an Iranian couple of scientists who found their new life in Aveiro, a Serbian music teacher whose pupils sing with a different pronunciation, a Columbian looking for new opportunities in Germany, among others. Also, a guerrilla marketing campaign for raising awareness about discrimination was created and executed in the streets of Aveiro on the same day. Participants challenged the locals to cut the “chains of discrimination” and challenge their own stereotypes when it comes to groups that are discriminated against in Aveiro.

Unfortunately, the topic of the training is again very much in focus, since new waves of refugees have been coming to the EU. Now that the participants are back home with new knowledge and experience they will be able to become even more active in their local communities, support those facing obstacles because they come from different realities, and also advocate for human rights on daily basis. 

Their testimonials speak better than us, so we will share a few of them with you:

“It was a pleasure to attend the Erasmus training “Build homes, not walls”. Along with wonderful people and programs, hosts and entertainment, I can say that I learned a lot and became aware of the situation in the world regarding immigrants and refugees. This project encouraged me to start helping those who need it.” - Tara, Croatia

“While the world is collapsing on itself, this kind of project reminds those who are available to listen, that a better world is still possible. We can still believe, but more importantly, act, for a more inclusive world. A group of people from 7 countries, gathered to share, dream and learn, about an alternative world, a world more focused on the human, and it wasn’t only the course, it wasn’t only the didactic aspect, that had this “revolutionary” (written in quotation marks because these days this vision is, unfortunately, a minority) vision; but was also the experience itself. For me, opportunities like that are vital to keep the dream alive and not to give in to resignation and discouragement.” - Simone, Italy

“This training course was an amazing experience! It was well-organised and we had the opportunity to learn new things in an alternative and fun way, share our ideas and knowledge on the topic, expand our personal perspectives and create meaningful bonds. The most important thing is that we got the chance to act and make a social impact by turning our ideas into action using the learned tools. This course definitely provides participants with knowledge and tools worth sharing with their local community!” - Theodora, Greece

“The Build Homes, Not Walls training course gave me an experience that is going to stay with me for a lifetime. The incredibly strong community that was born in a single week made it possible for us to work together in a way that created meaningful action. I think the proof that something like this is possible is the single most powerful tool we could have been given. What Nataša and Jasna created is a programme of real community, real empathy, and real action, and I know that what we take home from this experience to our own countries will be real, too.” - Flora, Hungary

“As a migrant myself, I was very curious about how a Training Course about Migration could be. During this course we experienced an innovative and creative learning process where we went from understanding the basics and discovering the experiences from locals working with  migrants and refugees to creating our own awareness raising events and actions in Aveiro.  It was an intense and eye opening experience that will surely help both the participants on the Training Course and the Aveiro citizens to better understand the issue of  Migration with empathy and based on real facts and information.” - Tamara, Germany

Nataša Gološin