IMMIGRADE: STORIES OF INTEGRATION, SOCIAL COHESION AND TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT
Youth Exchange, 2 – 11 April 2022
The Youth Exchange project ‘’Immigrade’’ took place from the 2nd to 11th of April 2022 in Ostello dei Balocchi, a hostel in the mountains located in the village of Ligonchio, Italy.
27 young participants from Italy, Spain, Estonia, Croatia and Greece were involved in the project that was hosted by the italian NGO ‘’Legambiente’’ along with the partner NGOs: Asociación Con Rumbo Propio, Youth Club Active, ESN Čakovec and EKO Greece.
The project was focused on migrants’ integration in widespread reception contexts. Τhe participants shared their opinions about good practice of integration and lack of communication between migrants and the local people that often generates prejudice.
The days would start with an energizer that would boost the participants, so that they can have the most of their energy during the sessions. After that it was time for the daily activities that were focused on the topic of the project: free discussions between the participants, sharing ideas and stories about integration, conversations with locals, team-building activities that made them come closer and cooperate for the best result.
All these activities helped the young people think out of stereotypes and prejudice trying to figure out ways of inclusion of migrants and communication with them. There was also a unique experience that contributed to these and that was the silent donkey trail, on which the participants managed to approach and connect with the animal without receiving any help from the staff and without even using any word, but at the same time establishing a way of communication with them.
Last, but also remarkable were the theater activities that helped participants discover their inner self, but also connect with the others. Finally they used this tool to present to a school of the area a small theater act through which they promoted the issue of discrimination towards the migrants and the need of their social integration. The days would end with the participants all spending time together and having intercultural nights full of fun, knowledge, music, dances and flavors from different parts of Europe.
The project was a unique experience for all the participants of the Greek team and made them reflect and develop themselves in a way that they became more socially aware. Lydia, Eleftheria, Sofia, Argiris, Anastasis and Michalis contributed the most to the project and have the most unforgettable memories from this experience.
The Greek leader, Lydia said: ‘’Τhe project in total, the connection with wonderful people, the warm smiles of the hosts and this magical landscape surrounded by snowy mountains will remain indelibly in my mind.’’
Special thanks to all the beautiful people of Ostello dei Balocchi and Legambiente and especially to Airin, Laura and Giorgio for working hard and making this project such a unique experience and with a tremendous impact for all participants!