Community development, Social inclusion

Open Minds, Open Hearts

Let's talk about our homeland


Who is behind this?

Ioanna Schuppert

METAdrasi - Action for Migration and Development



Idea pitch

Refugees are an important part of our community, future European citizens. What is it like, the home they have come from? What is our home here? What are our histories, our myths, our values as a society?
“Open Minds, Open Hearts” will enable refugees to learn about Greece and Europe and teach other newcomers about it; and to enable refugees to teach about their countries of origin, and work with locals to inform others, spreading understanding, friendship, and creating joint communities.

Where will your project idea take place?

Athens, Greece

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Greece has always been a country at the cross-roads of mixed migration routes, experiencing these past few years an unprecedented influx of people on the move. Being a transit country for many, and with state and civil society focused on the challenges of emergency situations, integration of refugees who stay in Greece is neglected. Resources on learning about local culture and history are particularly limited.
During this time, local responses of both solidarity and suspicion have emerged. Alongside responses showing solidarity and support, far-right xenophobic rhetoric has also been continuously gaining pace, without enough opportunities for people to interact with each other. This has been exacerbated since 2015 and more so as Covid-19 further limited public spaces and interaction.

Who are you doing it for?

Athens is home to 4mil people – among them thousands of refugees, their numbers likely to grow. As future European citizens, refugees should have the opportunity to learn about Greek history and culture, as well as European values. Particularly, it is important to talk about values such as democracy, political rights, and how citizens can participate in the political process.
The project will reach out to asylum seekers/refugees (initially those who have already spent time in Greece and can help newcomers, as well as those who have learnt some Greek) and the local population who live in the same city (Athens). These two groups have limited opportunities for meaningful interaction, despite being each other’s neighbours. We would like to create a space for cultures to meet.

How do you plan to get there?

About our Home
1. Refugees with a good understanding of Greek will provide interpretation for walking tours carried out by experienced tour guides in Athens. This will allow newly arrived persons to learn about the history and culture of Greece in their language and to have a dialogue around the topics, similarities and differences with their own cultures.
2. By learning from the tour guides and by guided independent reading, they will begin guiding tours for other refugees independently, sharing information about Athens’ history as well as Greek and European values, becoming cultural ambassadors.
3. We will cooperate with museums and cultural centres, offering translations of audio guides, and interpretations of tours, in languages commonly spoken by refugees.
4. The cultural ambassadors will create materials about Athens, Greece, and Europe.

About our Origins
1. Groups of 3-5 refugees and migrants will meet to discuss and prepare presentations about their countries of origin.
2. They will present information about their countries of choice to small audiences of both refugees/migrants and locals. In these sessions, a discussion will be facilitated, leading to an exchange of views and experiences, creating a community dialogue around their different perspectives about these countries and migration in general.
3. The teams will develop materials about these countries.

What are the expected results?

In terms of specific outcomes, the goals are:
- 10 cultural ambassadors able to provide tours in various languages
- Cooperation with 4 heritage actors for translated audio guides or interpreted tours
- 20 cultural exchange events (either tours or presentations and discussions)
- The participation of 300 individual people from all parts of society in these events
- The creation of materials about Greece and 6 other countries
It is expected that these activities will lead to increased understanding, civic cohesion, and positive co-existence. Through these, increased solidarity with each other, including through positive political participation, is also expected.

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

The project will strengthen social ties among the local and migrant communities, through providing information, fostering exchange, and encouraging dialogues.
In ‘About our Home’, information about the political process in Greece and Europe, democratic values, and political engagement will also be discussed, including by municipality officials participating in the events. Further, through discussion and engagement in a safe environment, participants can form and re-form their political opinions, and collaborate on promoting political and social change themselves. They will also work on open-minded listening, cooperation, teamwork, and creative thinking.
The cultural ambassadors will be a group of refugees and locals, working together to promote understanding, exchange, and cooperation.

Why is this idea important to you?

METAdrasi was founded in 2009 to facilitate the reception and integration of refugees and migrants through innovative activities in areas not covered by state or other actors. Guided by the principles of consistency, transparency, and the flexibility to adjust to emerging needs, METAdrasi is active in interpretation, the protection of unaccompanied children and other vulnerable groups, and the education and integration of refugees and migrants.

Our multicultural team, including interpreters speaking over 45 languages and dialects, is an important example for how a community can form around people with different cultural backgrounds, through the exploration of common goals and open-mindedness, and as such ideal for kick-starting a community of cross-cultural exchange and collaboration.

€ 33500,-

Total budget

€ 33500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Coordination salaries EUR 12800
Publicity & awareness raising costs (incl. publicity salaries) EUR 6000
Presentation design and research EUR 5000
Interpretation & translation costs EUR 3000
Event snacks EUR 1500
Local transportation EUR 360
Computer and communications equipment EUR 1000
Consumables and office supplies EUR 500
Other direct costs (e.g. museum visits) EUR 1000
Indirect and unforeseen costs EUR 2300

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would love to hear from those who have implemented similar activities, who can share any suggestions (especially of topics to be discussed), good practices, or problems we may not have foreseen.
We would also love to hear from people or organisations who may want to collaborate with us.


METAdrasi Action for Migration and Development


Idea created on April 23, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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