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How to build inclusive societies?

Building inclusive societies - a successful strategic partnership promoting inclusion in their local communities had another (and a last one) training activity.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 20 seconds

If you would have to leave your home from one day to another what are the 3 things you would take with you?”, “How do you think your life would look like if you were a young Afghan refugee in Europe?”, “Should the newcomers accept ‘our rules’ or be able to practice their own culture and customs?”. These and many other similar questions were deliberated last week in Aveiro, within a group of 20 participants coming from different backgrounds and countries, but with the same vision and doubt - how to build  a more inclusive community.

From 3 to 13 of February one more mobility activity in the scope of our 2-year-long strategic partnership Erasmus+ project “Building inclusive societies” was successfully implemented. Seven years passed since we organized our first training course dedicated to inclusion, in Belgrade, Serbia in 2016. Little did we know that in 2023 this topic would still be as important as then and that our courses will still make much sense. Therefore, once again we gathered to explore the topics of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination and ultimately, understand how we all can, as active citizens, help building more inclusive local communities.

We hosted young activists, curious and dedicated educators, psychologists, fellows, and volunteers coming from our three partner organizations: German Social science works, Serbian PIN and Croatian Mentor. They all shared their own best practices when it comes to the topic  and explored new inspiring and useful tools. One of them was the Human Library methodology and since learning works best through hands-on experience our participants organized a Human library in Aveiro. The event happened in the FNAC library and gathered five "human books" coming from Peru, Iran, Serbia, Angola and Syria, and over 40 "readers" who came to hear 1st hand stories from migrants and those working daily with them. Besides, participants had a chance to experience tools such as theatre of the oppressed, deliberation methodology and guerrilla marketing. They put into practice their new knowledge about guerrilla marketing and conducted a campaign in the streets of Aveiro to raise awareness about what immigrants go through when they arrive in a new country. We asked them to tell us how they feel about this educational experience and here are a few testimonials: 

Isabel, from Germany:

​​An informal way of education. By engaging with important global topics like migration, discrimination, refugees and inclusion, in an more informal and practical setting, I learned more to apply different perspectives in discussions. This also had personal effect on me, gave me new energy in this area of topics and talking and learning about it with different people. All in all, what I gained more thanks to this project is interest in a creative and stimulating way of learning.

Marina, from Croatia: 

I had the opportunity to talk with people who really care about making the world a better place, who spend their free time educating themselves and gaining the necessary knowledge, and who have no problem sharing their opinion with others and respecting other people's opinions. I changed due to the positive influence of the group, in which I did not feel afraid of expressing my opinion and (I hope) that I will take it further in life and surround myself with such people in the private world as well.

Milad, from Germany: 

I'm now more hopeful of all the possibilities that we can cultivate harmonious societies. I'm now more inspired and recharged by the power of generous listening.

Ana, from Serbia: 

The best thing was exchanging knowledge and experience with people with different backgrounds, but also introducing brand new tools highly applicable to working with youth.

This training activity was a part of the “Building Inclusive Societies” Erasmus+ strategic partnership, co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme and generously supported by the City hall of Aveiro. For the local activity “Human Library” we had support from FNAC Aveiro

Nataša Gološin