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Refugee and indigenous stories
Start date: May 15, 2016, End date: Aug 14, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Currently Europe is experiencing the mass influx of refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa, as well as asylum-seekers looking to provide a better future for themselves and their families. Though Europe has always been a crossroads of migrating and travelling peoples, coming from both inside and outside the continent, we see a growing resistance among large population groups in several European countries, amongst which Germany and The Netherlands. The fact that the composition of the populations of Western European countries have become more diverse, multi-ethnic and -cultural is not always appreciated. However it is a fact and we will have to find solutions in order to build a true intercultural society. This youth exchange contributes to this idea of f working towards this respectful intercultural communities. Based on the facts that the diversity and differences among people is being one of the main reasons for misunderstandings, lack of expressions, lack of trust and finally leading to many conflicts, we have decided to organize this exchange project with youth from two countries facing a mass influx of refugees at this moment. It is an exchange program for young people from diverse cultural backgrounds, including youth with a refugee background, from Germany and The Netherlands. This project aims to create space for young people to meet, have a dialogue on real situations of conflicts in their local context and to find solutions to conflicts that often happen between different groups within communities. This non-formal meeting of young people creates space to interconnect, share experiences, stories, ideas & visions for the future. With this project we have the following objectives:1. To empower young people in intercultural dialogue2. To encourage and enable young people to use non-formally acquired narrative techniques 3. To create space to meet and celebrate cultural diversity4. To encourage and inspire young people to become active citizens in their local areasAmong many non-formal methods, we will use Storytelling and Discussion techniques to facilitate the dialogue; however we will also implement important methods such as group discussions and sharing experiences.Storytelling, dialogue and– appreciative listening have been a part of human culture since the beginning of time. It is an oral tradition, which does not require literacy or any other skills than what one is born with – the gift of speech and the power of appreciative listening. As such it is available to anyone across the globe and addresses civil society on a broad level as folk culture. Storytelling enhances speaking, learning and eventually also reading and writing skills, and supports the expression of complex emotions and life experiences through the power of speech. We know that when one can't express oneself adequately, there is a risk that the pressure building up on the inside comes out rather aggressively. Developing storytelling and other narrative activities in this context can be seen to have an important preventive effects on future crises, conflicts and misunderstandings at all levels of society. The speaking and listening in a community has provided a forum for existential life questions and a transferring of wisdom and experience through the generations and can be seen as a non-formal teaching-learning situation where important life skills are exchanged. This wave between people is a horizontal activity which strengthens tolerance, understanding and compassion and helps to hold together a society in moments of strain and unrest. It also stimulates the faculties of creative imagination, a human ability without which we will not find our way forward into a viable and co-creative future.In this project participants will learn the following competences:1. Communication skills, both to speak and to listen; 2. Presentation and expression skills (also for youth refugees); 3. Self confidence;4. Awareness of the current social and political sitaution in the EU; 5. Social as well as self awareness skills; 6. Self control and self management skills. Practical details about the project:Refugee and Indigenous StoriesDuration of project: 3 months all together. Main 8 days are meetings of participants.Venue: School for Peace, Egmond (The Netherlands)Countries: The Netherlands and GermanyNumber of participants: 9 per country, 18 in totalActivities:* In every partner country a preparatory meeting with selected participants, regarding vision and mission statement of the school and the practicalities of the workshop* 8 day (international) Refugee and Indigenous Stories meeting in The Netherlands;* 1 final presentations of the result of the exchange program;* Presentations in both partner countries for other actors involved in peacemaking and conflict resolutions;* In both partner countries a concluding meeting with participants including feedback and evaluation.
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