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Young Activist for Peace - Welcome Refugees!
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Jun 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Contrary to the fundamental aims of the EU, the increasing number of people who have to flee to the EU to look for protection and asylum lead to division and undermine the basic principle of unity. Instead of a common approach in working out solutionsnew border fences are being built at the EU border and refugees who finally managed to get into an EU country are being sent on to neigboring countries without humanitarian aid. The scenario of increased migration into the EU is more and more considered a threat to own interest and social peace. Xenophobia and racism as well as hatred towards all migrants are once again on the rise also among young people. It is proven that particularly for those who have had little or now possibilities to meet and talk with refugees. Against this background the project „Young Activists for Peace – Welcome Refugees“ brings together youth and voluntary service organisations from Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey with the aim to enable personal encounters and dialogue between young people from EU and neighboring partner countries and refugees in the frame of Erasmus+ Main aim is to break down stereotypes, prejudices and hatred by offering positive encounters and standing up together for a culture of "encounters and welcome" and peace. The overall project enhances the methodological and peace-building competence of the participating youth workers and fosters the European cooperation of youth and voluntary service organisation aiming at integration and improvement of the situation of refugees in the participating countries.The project activities will take place from February 2016 - Januar 2017 and consist of: - a 12 - month EVS of a young volunteer from Greece in the organisation ICJA in Berlin, - an introduction training of 6 days for 22 youth workers (Berlin) and -two youth exchanges with a total of 55 participants. The introductory training will enable youth leaders and organizers to learn about the pedagogical concept „peace maker“ as well as to acquire competences in working with diverse and sensitive groups of children and youth and to prepare the youth exchanges of summer 2016. Two youth exchanges will be carried out in with local peace education associations dealing with refugees: „Friedenswerkstatt Antikriegshaus“, Sievershausen and "Petrusgemeinde" in Gießen. 5 to 6 groups of 5 young people of the participating countries, (including some people who have fled from their countries) will live and work together, reflect and practice democratic decision making processes as well as non-violent conflict resolution methods in the frame of the concept peace maker. The aim of the working part is to prepare and offer creative sports and play workshopy for disdavantaged children and youth and to get to know and support the work of local initiatives for refugees. Two additional similar youth exchanges as well as a follow-up training course (Athens autumn 2016) will be carried out by the partners in Belgium and Greece. (Erasmus+ application at their national agencies) The critical debate of the current geopolitical conflicts and the refugee situation in the frame of the concept "Peacemaker" will enable the recognition of common interests in striving for peace within the EU and beyond. The youth exchanges will contribute to a culture of dialogue among the participants and they will look from a different perspective on each other and on those who have to flee from their countries and homes. This experience will lay the ground for common strategies and actions for building peaceful societies which welcome and recognize the needs of refugees to be well-integrated.
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