Kulturno društvo Gmajna (Cultural Association Gmajna)
We build deinstitutionalized platforms for social inclusion and co-create autonomous spaces run by migrants and locals where people can meet, organise, articulate their needs, engage with each other and the broader community, as well as spend their free time on their own terms.
Ljubljana and Laze pri Gobniku, central Slovenia
In Slovenia, migrants, asylum seekers, and migrant workers are increasingly marginalised. Their rights are not respected. Most integration projects aimed at migrants are institutionalised and run by government bodies or large NGOs. We want to further develop another type of integration model based on horizontal hierarchical structures that enable equal and active participation of migrants in project planning and activities. We want to create a space for the organisation of different activities that will empower migrants to articulate themselves in Slovenian society. An autonomous space run by migrants can increase their capacity for engagement with the local population and provide a starting point for meaningful cultural exchange and community building activities.
In 2020, 3548 asylum applications were registered in Slovenia but only 89 were approved. Dire possibilities for integration prompt the majority of asylum seekers to leave Slovenia before their asylum procedures are over. They are segregated in total institutions (asylum homes, integration houses) located in degraded urban areas. A centrally located social space will enable them and other migrants to access services, co-create the local community, and be part of everyday life. Nature-based inclusion provides an alternative space for community building and opens access to rural areas where exchange with non-locals is rare due to economic and social reasons. The project aims to improve the quality of life of migrants and locals by enabling dialogue, exchange, and creative encounters.
Project participants - migrants and natives - will co-create inclusive community spaces dedicated to their well-being and the identification and articulation of their needs and rights. The project aims to establish a horizontal organisational model that is capable of adapting to the input of the participants. We will achieve this through regular structured assemblies where individual and community issues will be openly discussed in a supportive environment (20 assemblies). We will organise 15 workshops on media work and the rights of migrants and refugees. With 8 public events (such as debates, lectures, exhibitions, workshops, concerts) social, political, and cultural facets of migration will be addressed to promote a deeper understanding of migration among project participants and the general public. The community space will provide a meeting area with infrastructure (microphone, speakers, projector, computer), a tea kitchen, as well as a creative leisure area (chess, small library, children’s corner). We plan at least 2 press conferences organised by users in the community space. To further increase the well-being of participants, we plan 5 nature-based integration workshops (study walks, therapeutic work with animals and plants, horseback riding) and at least 2 picnics to build stronger interpersonal bonds.
Project funds will allow us to establish a strong civic platform for the continued practice of deinstitutionalized integration. As a result, community members will be able to identify and articulate their needs and demand their rights in the public space. Through co-creation of the community space, they will learn participatory and communicative skills and strategies, how to organise different types of public events, tackle difficult and complex subjects, and present their struggles to the media. Through meaningful engagement with the local community, participants will also gain a deeper understanding of Slovene culture and the natural world that will enable them to build diverse personal bonds that will increase their chances for successful integration.
Innovative integration approaches are necessary to tackle social and political challenges related to migration in Slovenia. A horizontally organised space operates outside of hierarchies imposed on the subject through institutionalized social services and structures. Regular assemblies offer participants a framework through which they can articulate their needs, frustrations, share stories, and interact with others in a safe and open environment. This builds trust, which further enables the identification, development, and resolution of different individual or community issues. The community space will serve as a foundation for the civic, social, and political engagement of the involved communities.
Infokolpa is an answer to increasing reports of human rights violations along the Balkan migration route. We are a collective of native Slovenians, living in urban and rural areas, as well as migrants from different countries (Eritrea, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, BiH). Some members have many years of experience with social and civic issues on a grass-roots level, others are new to the field. We have a background in social work, journalism, advocacy, law, humanities, and science. We all share the responsibility to co-create an inclusive and just society. Migrant rights are human rights. In Slovenia, the political discourse of securitization of migration is dominant, while not enough is being done on the inclusion of migrants whose rights are increasingly targeted.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Community organiser 1 - 12.500,00 EUR
Community organiser 2 - 12.500,00 EUR
Office expenses - 2.100,00 EUR
Rent - 450,00 EUR x 12 = 5.400,00 EUR
Travel expenses - 1.000,00 EUR
Nature based inclusion workshops - 1.500,00 EUR
We are always open to comments and dialogue as this is the process by which ideas can grow and develop. We would be especially interested in feedback and hands-on experience regarding nature-based integration in rural areas.