Migration: New Comers

Participants' photoreports November 2018 Turkey

How do Turkish NGOs help refugees from Syria, what does it mean to be a Kurd in Turkey and what young people from the EU countries think about migration? Participants of the project Migration: New Comers were looking for answers for those questions.

The project, organized as a part of the Erasmus + initiative by the Shelter International organization, took place from 20 to 29 November in Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. 36 participants came from 10 countries: Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Norway and Turkey. Poland was represented by a three-person group, consisting of a journalist, an activist and a traveler.

The program of the project included both classes teaching teamwork, being a leader and part of the team, as well as enabling sharing of opinions and ideas. For three evenings more teams presented their countries, thanks to which others could learn about other cultures, customs and traditional products. The Polish team prepared a board with curiosities about the country, tasting of Polish sweets, organized a competition for the longest potato peel, as well as a common polonez dance.

During the project two tourist trips were organized. In Mardin, the organizers showed the cradle of the Assyrian Church of the East, the remains of ancient Mesopotamia. Participants had the opportunity to visit a Kurdish house in the countryside, where the host talked about his family and offered delicious coffee and cheese. Another goal was the historical center of the city of Diyarbakir, the capital of Kurdish culture, with a magnificent bazaar and mosque. An unforgettable experience for the participants was dancing a traditional Kurdish dance on the Tigris River accompanied by folk instruments.

The most important part of the trip however were the study visits to local NGOs involved in helping children and women who came from the war-swept areas in Syria. They were to show project participants the ways of working for NGOs in Turkey and models of integration with migrants. There were fun elements, for example in one of the organizations during drawing together on the subject of children’s rights and dancing with the youngest. The educational benefits were intertwined with entertainment and this remained the greatest value during the Migration: New Comers project.

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