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The Journey - Stories of Migration, Tales of Inclusion
Start date: 01 Aug 2016, End date: 31 Mar 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Migration has recently become a phenomenon of crucial importance for Europe, being it currently shaping its whole history. In fact, more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggled to cope with the influx and with integration issues. By now, the “EU response to the refugee crisis has been chaotic and divisive, characterized by squabbling over sharing responsibility, cascading border closures and finger-pointing. (…) And recent events in Paris and Brussels have interjected fear of terrorism into the mix.” (J. Sunderland, Associate Director, Europe and Central Asia Division - Human Rights Watch). Historically, however, the EU has a long record of migrations and European societies have been dealing with increasing diversity for years, in such a way that we may all consider ourselves as “migrants”. Yet, with the last year trends in migration flows, opinion and political debates all over Europe have been increasingly shaped by concerns about cultural identity, social cohesion, security, access to public services, crime and employment, always largely focusing on the immigrant population as a stereotyped and generalized “whole”. To make things worst, the European Union does not require any particular integration approach. The EU Common Basic Principles (2004) define integration as “a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States”. But actual national and regional policies have too often tended toward coercive integration (such as discriminatory measures such as religious-dress bans in France, Belgium and parts of Italy and Spain). As J. Sunderland underlines, “many of those who have risked their lives to reach Europe this year will have strong motivation to do what they can to rebuild their lives in their new homes. But integration policies that require people to shed fundamental aspects of their identity are unlikely to succeed. Sustainable integration should aim at giving migrants a real stake in their new home, encouraging participation rather than exclusion, while requiring full adherence to laws and respect for the rights of others.” This perspective is included not only in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.In this sense, guided by its principles and values, PROJECT2020 and its partners believe that the starting point of any sustainable integration policy should be the respect for migrants and refugees as individuals, with their own stories, dreams and competences. We feel that youth organizations and European youth can have a great role in addressing this gap. By meeting the refugees/migrants and collecting their stories (needs, dreams, fears, personal stories, journeys, expectations, goals, hopes, competences, skills, contributions), they can provide the host population with accurate and fair information about who refugees are and what are the benefits of welcoming them in the local community, promoting therefore an inclusive and tolerant society, able to recognize and value personal talents and to empower and integrate them. Aims and general objectives will be, therefore, to develop and promote a new positive narrative of inclusion, giving the chance to young europeans and young migrants to meet and share their stories (their journeys) in order to match them with the needs of the communities they live in. Specific objectives will be: - To contribute to migrants and refugees integration- To promote intercultural dialogue and learning- To promote inclusion, tolerance and mutual understanding / fight generalization, racism and stereotypes- To promote a change of perception towards migration and refugees- To analyze the migrants’ background, the migration flows and reasons behind it- To avoid generalization and promote “real life encounters” / to meet refugees and collect their stories - To raise awareness on the feelings, hopes, needs, fears, dreams, expectations, competences and skills of migrants/refugees and on their positive contribution to local communities- To develop strategies to match community needs and migrants’ storiesThe project also foresees the following expected results: - A final publication/book in which thoughts, reflections stories of migrations developed as “modern fairy-tales” will be presented- Promotion of the concept of “community match”, defined as the opportunity to match the stories, skills and knowledge of the migrants with the needs and opportunities of the community they live in- A social campaign aiming at changing the perception and view of local communities towards migrants and refugeesThe project will involve 28 young people and 7 youth workers/facilitators from 7 countries in one APV (to be held in september 2016), a youth exchange in Cardiff - UK (to be held at the end of september/beginning of october 2016) and a youth exchange in Thessaloniki - Greece (november 2016).
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