Polish rural society living in small communities f.ex. of Lublin Voivodeship often is fearful of The Others. The main challenge is to overcome the prejudice and obstacles to find the way to enhance cooperation and communication between the migrants, refugees and local communities - through art and various activities, ONE VOICE for refugees and local citizens alike. We want to find what is universal, common and unifying. We know we are similar as humans and we can build on that.
Poland Lublin Province (less than 30 000 habitants) - Bezwola, Łaziska, Łuków, Radecznica, Wohyń.
There is little knowledge of other countries in local villages and little understanding of what it means to flee one's country. The mainstream government media is spreading false and hurtful stereotypes. Fear, lack of knowledge, stereotypes and resentment - these are real and daily problems we come across in our work. We have come to learn that it is the close human contact and close interactions that can change hostility into hospitality Meeting The Others, doing things together, common activities build mutual understanding. And then participants can see that we do speak with one voice. We believe in dialogue and our rich experience of 12 years of working here made us believe it can be the strongest and the most lasting tool.
We want to strengthen relations and cooperation by:
- organizing 200 h of workshops (art, music, theatre and circus) for local and immigrant children
- to produce 4 music videos with kids, adults (with Polish and migrants musicians)
- to organize 10 Loesje workshops with women from local farmer's wives' associations, refugees and migrants and than to create patchwork pictures inspired by Annie Hedvard (the topics of fear, stereotypes and hospitality) and 10 meetings and exhibitions in rural areas in Lublin Province
- 2 editions WIZA-VIS quarterly (https://ello.co/wizavis). The publication will be the voice of immigrants from small villages of Poland - we want to reach to those places and personal histories that show that cooperation and peaceful coexistence are possible and reachable.
We believe this project will include all local points of view: migrants and Poles from local communities and asylum-seekers (both children and adult) living in Asylum-Seeker Centres in Lublin Province (mostly in Łuków and Bezwola - 300 people), who come from the Eastern countries and regions related with war – mostly Tchechenya. All together they will participate in workshops and experience being involved. The work with children will be facilitated by experienced teachers. The Loesje and patchwork workshops will be addressed to local and asylum-seeker and migrant women (150 people). Their creations will be shown during the exhibitions, related with meetings, discussions and presentations (400). Their voice, released in WIZA-VIS magazine, will be noticed by many people in Poland (10000).
Our plan is to utilize our vast experience and contacts. We have tested many approaches and we know that our contacts and history of projects with local schools and Active Women Clubs and Farmers Wives Associations are crucial and priceless. During the first 6 months of the project we will also produce 4 video clips that will be published in online media and help us to promote this project. Also during this time we will organise the Loesje and patchwork workshops, and during following six months we will produce 10 exhibitions in ten villages and towns of the region, for the whole local community to participate. The WIZA-VIS quarterly will be published in the 3rd and the 6th month of the project.
For us the success of this project is the change in how the refugees and asylum seekers are perceived locally. That they are perceived as humans similar to local residents of the Lublin region, with similar problems, dreams and challenges. The success means the stereotypes shuttered and people cooperating together locally with mutual respect. We want to see several friendships and general good relations among participants. We believe it would follow with the change in the interactions with local residents and institutions. This change, originated in small villages of the Lubling region would not only make life easier for the very participants of the program but also the community of the whole region.
Local activities - in the villages, in small towns, outside large centers - aiming at strengthening democracy are crucial for civic soviety. Oustide large centres, information is limited, even despite the ubiquitous Internet and social media. In cities, people experience different perspectives, different points of view, it is easier to find independent sources and opinions. This situation applies to the whole of Europe. That is why working at the base, at the very grassroots level is important. Our idea connects different environments, different actors. But everything happens in places where these activities are most needed. Because that's where the CHANGE begins.
We have a very clear mission: we want the children and their parents, who were forced to flee from their own countries to be able to learn and play together with their Polish peers. We want the inhabitants of our region to recognise refugees as people seeking help – not trouble. That is why since 2009 we have been teaching Polish, organising vocational courses and compensatory classes for children, providing psychological help, cultural assistants, and showing the beauty of our region during group excursions, meeting with local organisations, running inter-cultural workshops. Our mission is also to make incomers – migrants and refugees feel safe, so they could consider the region of Lublin as their home – the same as we do. That is why we want to speak with ONE VOICE together with them.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Salaries for specialists, management budget, promotion, events organization = 18 000 E
Production of videoclips (recordings, musicians’ salaries, renting the recording studio, mastering, video) 4 x 2500 E = 10 000 E
Artistic and Loesje workshops = 10 000 E
2 editions of the WIZA VIS magazine (editing, translations, printing of 1000 copies for each release) = 5000 E
Costs of tools and materials needed for workshops = 2000 E
Transport = 2000 E
Office and Accountancy = 3000 E
Every feedback is relevant for us and we keep looking forward to the opinions from people and organisations from everywhere – especially if they come from organisations experienced in inclusive work with immigrants and willing to share with us their knowledge and experience.