Democracy and participation, Migration

HOME FOR EXPANDING BORDERS

Cohabitation as a political experience

Creators

Who is behind this?

giorgio baracco

Refugees Welcome Italia Onlus

http://www.refugees-welcome.it

Italy

Idea

Idea pitch

RWI aims to initiate and adapt the well developed methodology for housing refugees through families in the area around Lodi, known for recent episodes of discrimination towards foreign people brought up by the local administration. The usual model of co-living ,the association developed over the last few years, will be strengthened by one experimental co-living between an artist and a refugee, to elaborate, in an artistic and political term, the experience of the encounter and co-habitation

Where will your project idea take place?

Lodi and the surroundings is a periurban area located in the south part of Lombardia Italy

What is the local challenge?

Despite being just 1 hour away from Milan, Lodi, as many other small towns in Europe, is experiencing a difficult situation affected by lack of social capital, economic crisis and aggressive political attitude towards immigrants and minorities (the 14% of population has foreign background). Over the last year the Administration got infamously known for excluding kids of foreign families from a meal allowance in school, The italian civil society responded with a crowdfunding campaign to support the excluded families. A local organization asked RWI to support them in the process of social cohesion starting with some experience of co-habitation between local families and refugees. Moreover, Lodi was also one of the first areas hit by the covid19 and where the lockdown lasted more

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

In opposition to the current tendency of closing the border, the project proposes a creative way for expanding the border from insight by showing how relationship and dialogue as opposed to borders and wall, can trigger social change. By adapting its well know model of domestic housing of refugees, RWI aims at supporting local active citizens in providing help to vulnerable people; opening a space for cultural and political reflection within the community on the impact of migration on society; providing a concrete example of pacific coexistence of communities belonging to different cultural traditions; promoting the development of the culture of hospitality in the city of Lodi; engaging citizens in a dialogue that can mitigate the effect of polarization

Who are you doing it for?

The project is responding to the need of people with an experience of migration and living in center for refugees. It aims to accompany them in a process of empowerment and building an autonomy within a wider network of relations at local level. Through a daily co-living experience, people that too often are falling into the category of 'refugee' can get rid of habitual assumptions that are mainly discriminatory. The project also responds to the desire of a more cohesive society of some active citizens who are looking for organization and support in starting an experience of co-living to better understand a phenomena always presented under a problematic lens

How do you plan to get there?

RWI will implement and adapt its own methodology (https://wiki.refugees-welcome.it/site) to the local contest and to the specific goals of the initiatives. More specifically, RWI will undertake the following steps in order to reach the goals:
Launching a call to action to volunteers and hosting families
Providing training to volunteers and families
Setting up local group
Establishing relationship with local NGO and social enterprises active in the field of migration
Matching families, artist and refugees
Supporting and monitoring the cohabitations both in presence and remotely
Organize cultural events to communicate the experience (social dinners, video, performing art events)
Storytelling the whole cohabitation experiences and artistic creative process

What are the expected results?

As far as the outputs are concerned the project will: Arrange 3 coliving experiences between families and refugees; arrange a pilot coliving experience between artist and refugees; Develop a pilot format; organize 4 community events. In terms of empowering the local community we believe that cohabitation themselves and the related artistic experience will provide space for self reflection that would help both local inhabitants and resident with migratory background to think and represent themselves as a true community (this will enhance social cohesion, and mitigate political tensions within society). Also, volunteers from the local RWI will be provided with tools and know how that will allow them to operate more effectively within the community

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

We believe that HOME FOR EXPANDING BORDERS can contribute to strengthen democracy by showing the possibility of pacific coexistence and dialogue between people belonging to the different cultural and social traditions. With this regard the opening home gesture is not just a solidarity action but it will assume a political and cultural significance coherent with the values of tolerance and democracy embodied in the European Institution and treaties. As Europe as democratic space is facing existential threat due to economic and pandemic crisis (not to mention national egoism, political ineptitude and alt right propaganda), civic engagement and grassroot organizations have a crucial role in re-establishing faith and hope in our common destiny.

What is your story?

The idea is important as it perfectly matches with the mission and vision of Refugees Welcome Italia Onlus. As part of the homonymous international networks, RWI wants to promote cultural change and a new model of reception and we believe that family hospitality is the best way to facilitate the social inclusion of refugees in our country and to combat prejudice and fears. The current challenge will allow us to experiment ourselves in different political, economical and social environment and to adapt our methodology to different target as one of coliving experience will match refugees and artist. On top that project will allow us to stress the political significance of our activities and our general standing

€ 39100,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel costs: 23.000,00
Communication Costs: 3700
Travel Costs: 600,00
Community events cost: 4000,00
Artistic performance: 5000
Overhead Cost (office expense, rent, etc etc): 2800

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How a co-living experience between refugees and locals can trigger new sensibility and approach toward specific social issue?
How artistic strategies can support a experience of co-living?

Team

RefugeesIT

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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