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Open hearts and open minds for more inclusive communities

Agora Aveiro organized another Erasmus+ Training Course: “IncluCities”. Our mission to show the importance of more inclusive communities continues! Read the news that Diogo Nascimento, a participant in the course, wrote.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 58 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

What happens when 26 strangers get together in a room of an old Train Station for eight days? Well, in the last week of October, an Erasmus+ project - “Inclucities” - happened, one which involved people from more than ten different nationalities. From 19 to 53 years of age, participants met in Aveiro, arriving from every corner of Europe. And the goal? To raise awareness regarding stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. The main topic of the project was combating oppression and inequality that are caused by those three.

The project happened in cooperation with eight partner organizations from Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, France, Italy, Turkey, Poland and Greece, but it also involved several local partnerships such as: Casa Vera Cruz, who locally helps refugees and immigrants through CLAIM and other services, and Mon na Mon, an association that works mostly with immigrants coming from Lusophone African countries. Thanks to Project Sabura, participants had a chance to taste food from Cabo Verde and S. Tome e Principe. Needless to say, but taking part in these kinds of projects is, if nothing else, worth it just for the amazing menus. All jokes aside though, it’s much more than that.

The Theatre of the Oppressed, the Human Library and guerrilla marketing were the tools and tactics explored as possible awareness-raising, with the purpose to convey a message about breaking down barriers and outdated notions about our society.
Of course, these activities were carried out by the participants, divided into three groups.
The Theatre of the Oppressed was a virtuosic performance where the audience was able to participate and change the course of a situation of oppression.
The Human Library was organised in the FNAC store inside the Aveiro Fórum (many thanks for the generosity!) and brought six immigrants living in Aveiro together, turning them into “Human Books” to be read by any passers-by.
Guerrilla marketing campaign consisted of a powerful and terrifying video about the perspectives of refugees, mostly from war.

All three activities went beautifully, and participants can be (and probably are) proud of their undoubtedly stimulating work. But nothing better than hearing what some of them had to say about the project:

“This project has been an enriching journey, providing me with a deeper understanding of inclusivity, diversity, and non-formal education. Through meaningful connections forged with dedicated individuals and organizations, it's become clear that the most valuable aspect of this project is the network of professionals and the knowledge gained. One of the most memorable moments of the project was the successful creation of a powerful video, representing our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and leaving a lasting impact on my personal growth” - one participant shared at the end his feelings.

Another participant says that although she was familiar with the theme of inclusion before attending this project, her knowledge was limited to what she learnt at school, heard on TV or read in the papers. Now it’s different: “Thanks to the associations we met, thanks to the activities we did and thanks to the projects we created I've realised that knowing what's happening is important, but the most important thing is to look at it from the heart. Stop judging people at first glance in your subconscious and just be open-minded, because we don't know their story. I've looked for something too complicated when it's so simple to help those who need it.”

“Inclucities” project was co-financed by the Erasmus+ programme, and had support from the City Hall of Aveiro.

Agora Aveiro