People don’t know much about migrants and their situation. We mistake terms like refugees and migrants, in a lot of cases our fears and lack of knowledge reflect in the way we behave and act. As a consequence, we can see wariness or even aggression toward migrants. To change this we need education focused on understanding, empathy, and taking action.
Author and translation: Anna Książek
Proofreading: Andrea Pucci
Discussing about the situation of migrants in your country
During the workshop the participants will:
Understand better the situation of migrants living in their country for different reasons.
Understand the need of giving the voice directly to the migrants, listen to them and not only those who speak in their name.
1. Gossip (exercise)
Every participant receives a piece of paper on which, using few different symbols, she/he presents herself/himself by creating a sort of name card. Then, participants divide themselves in pairs. Person A tells person B about her/his name card, and person B tells about her/his name card. At the end they exchange name cards and look for new people to speak with. So, person A meets person C and tells her/him about person B, whose name card she/he has in the hand. Person C speaks about person D, with whom she/he was speaking before. After they finish the conversation, they exchange name cards again and look for a new person to speak with. Make shifts like this few times. When you say “stop”, everybody sits in a circle and tells about the person whose card they have at that moment in their hand. Summarize the exercise by asking participants how they felt when somebody talked in their name.
2. Steps (exercise)
The exercise from the book “Compass. Manual for human rights education with young people” (red. P. Brander and others, Strasbourg 2012, pages 281-285) was modified so that every participant receives the role of migrant, but the roles are very diverse:
student who comes to your country for international exchange
refugee from Syria
daughter of the ambassador from South America
Chinese man who runs a popular restaurant
migrant from Mali without regulated status
Ukrainian woman illegally hired as housemaid
Italian guy who came to his local girlfriend and works in a big corporation
All people, without telling others about their role, stand in a line. Read one by one the sentences below. After each sentence give the participants some time to take a step (or not).
Proposition of sentences:
You have never encountered any serious financial difficulty.
You have a decent housing with telephone and television.
You feel your language, religion and culture are respected in the society you live in.
You feel that your opinion on social and political issues matters and your voice is listened to.
Other people consult you about different issues.
You are not afraid of being stopped by the police.
You know where to turn for advice and help if you need it.
You have never felt discriminated against because of your origin.
You have adequate social and medical protection for your needs.
You can go away on holiday once a year.
You can invite friends for dinner at home.
You have an interesting life and you are positive about your future.
You feel you can study and follow the profession of your choice.
You are not afraid of being harassed or attacked in the street, or in the media.
You can vote in national and local elections.
You can celebrate the most important religious festivals with your relatives and close friends.
You can participate in an international seminar abroad.
You can go to the cinema or the theater at least once a week.
You are not afraid for the future of your children.
You can buy new clothes at least once every three months.
You can fall in love with the person of your choice.
You feel that your competence is appreciated and respected in the society where you live.
You can use and benefit from the Internet.
You are not afraid of the consequences of climate change.
You are free to use any site on the Internet without fear of censorship.
Every person who thinks that one particular sentence is true regarding the role she/he has, takes a step forward. After several sentences, the distance between people who after almost every sentence could go ahead and those who constantly stand in the same place, becomes huge. It raises a lot of emotions and thoughts:
How do you feel in this particular position?
What do you think?
What this game is telling us about the real society?
What did you learn?
How can we diminish the differences (distances) between people, in the real world?
Summarize the exercise by discussing in group. Add basic definitions connected with the topic of migration (for example immigrant, refugee, asylum)
3. Narratives of Migrants (movie and discussion)
Going to this point, pay attention to the participants on how limited is the knowledge about migrants and how rarely it comes from the migrants themselves (you can come back to experience and feelings from the “Gossip” exercise). Watch a movie from the series “Narratives of Migrants”, prepared by Fundacja na Rzecz Różnorodności Społecznej (youtube.com/user/NarracjeMigrantow). Listen to what migrants say about their own situation. Think together:
How does the character of the movie feel? Why?
What was particularly interesting to you in what she/he said?
Do you meet a similar situation in life?
4. What can I do?
Discuss in small groups what we can do to change the situation. Which actions you can take right now? Maybe you will find real examples of initiatives, organizations or social enterprises which support migrants. Each group presents the results of its work to the others.
Wefugees - German organization working for migrants.
Tasks and topics to discuss:
Put into action at least one solution you discussed about during the meeting.
Watch another movie from “Narratives of Migrants” series, discuss about it.
Organize language classes for children from migrant families.
Make an interview with migrants. Ask if there is something you can help with. If yes, try to do it.
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