Last day of our training… So what have we done? What have we managed? What have we not managed? How was the week overall?
We have experienced an intense week doing many different things, looking at new angles, seeing, feeling, discussing, sharing and exchanging. The participants got together enjoying a first day of remembering the experience of Lesvos, reconnecting and getting ready to work together once more and engage in debates, but also processes of co-creating.
We looked at the asylum seeking process that left us with different feelings but commonly agreeing that the current process does not cover our Think Human philosophy.
We had the opportunity to visit different places that intervene, including an NGO funded by UNHCR, a youth centre funded by charities from abroad, and an informal group funded mainly from personal donations and in kind (such as food or clothes). Who’s doing a better job? It all depends on what we are focusing on. Are we looking for the process of participation or the end result? Is it the bureaucratic processes or ‘Think Human’ processes? If there is a conclusion, it is that somehow they are filling different gaps, addressing different needs that somehow complement each other through the work done by the international community towards the refugee crisis.
Lunch at Khora, an association run horizontally by mainly international volunteers was a great surprise on the different approaches that exist by somehow commonly agreeing that when the focus is on creating common experiences and participatory approaches, the intercultural gap closes and the space goes from multicultural to intercultural.
We also took the role of observers and reporters. Lots of different medias visits Athens to report back to the international community about what’s going on. Is it true? Is it really the way it is presented? What about tourists that visit Athens and Greece? What do we all report back and how? Are there ethics to consider and lines not to cross. Is there such a thing as objectivity?
Again, the experiences and emotions of the participants observing and interacting with the local community gave us the feeling that there is not only one thing to report back. Different people, different areas, different organizations, different initiatives, different time of the day and the perception one can get can vary from A to Z.
But still… Athens has reacted, has welcomed the refugee/immigrant/asylum seeking community even if the economic crisis is making things hard for the locals. There is the other side also with worries and fears but who doesn’t fear the unknown and the different… even a bit?
We believe that common experiences should be more, where fears disappear, and where many become one with the freedom to preserve their uniqueness, not just because of color or religion but also because of personal identities. We did more!
We created project proposals that we will try to realize back home, and we are looking forward to our evaluation meeting that will take place in November in Northern Greece.
So stay tuned, we have articles to share, competitions, updates, developments, reflections, our thoughts and more.
But remember before anything else… Think Human!
Argyris and Kostas