Building Bridges, Breaking the Walls: Managing Refugee Crisis in Europe — Armenia (November 2018), Sweden (February 2019)


Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Two-part project: 1. training course; 2. study visit

  1. Training course – Yerevan, Armenia, 20-28 November 2018
  2. Study visit – Stockholm, Sweden, 18-23 February 2019

Participants: Michaela Šedová, Anežka Karpjáková

Hosting organisation: Armenian Progressive Youth NGO

Participating countries: Armenia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Denmark, Turkey, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Georgia, Portugal

Project report from Training course – Yerevan, Armenia, 20-28 November 2018:

On the 20th of November, a group of amazing people met in Yerevan, Armenia. On that day, a training course – Building Bridges, Breaking the Walls: Managing Refugee Crisis in Europe – started. Fifteen countries and even more nationalities – that was our team. During nine days, which we have spent in the Armenian capital, we learned a lot from each other about the topic, and created new friendships.

This training course was different from others I went to. Most of the program was created by the participants themselves. There was a lot of space for us to share our own realities and perspectives on migration. Most of the people were very interested in the topic and disscusions usually continued after sessions and into coffee breaks, lunches or long evenings…

I appreciated that people from different backgrounds shared the realities of their countries and some of them also their personal stories – being migrants themselves.

I got to know a lot about the situation in many countries – from Nordic ones, through Germany and Ukraine to the European south – Greece or Italy but also the Caucasus. Together with the other Czech participant, Anežka, we presented situation in the Czech Rebublic. The reactions were mixed, but we are not the only country with a dominantly negative approach towards migration.

We understood that nothing is black and white, and realized even more how complicated and difficult is the migration problem in Europe. And that there is not a single or right solution for the situation. But the conclusion was simple – we are all humans and we have to help each other, where and when and  it is needed.

What is more, we shared good practices of organizations where we are working or volunteering.

In Yerevan, we visited two organizations which are involved with the migration topic – UNHCR and Aleppo. Both visits were very inspirational and we got to know more about the reality of migration and its solutions in Armenia.

We also experienced human library which is a method where interesting people act as books, and become storytellers. We met people from different countries who ended up in Armenia, some from Syria, Kurdistan and other parts of the world. Two participants of our project also decided to be „books“ and shared their story – one girl living in Finland whose parents fled from Somalia because of a war, and a girl from Ossetia living in Georgia who can´t return to the place where she was born. Many of the stories were strong and emotional.

The program was rich, there were many other activities and workshops. Now, our task, before the second part of the project which will take place in Sweden, is to take action back in our countries. We are suppose to create and organize an event for migrants, all for the cause of better understanding and integration.

I enjoyed the project very much, as well as the country. It was my first time in Armenia and I was positively surprised by it. I loved Armenian culture and especially the people who were very welcoming and hospitable.

What‘s worth to mention is that during the project there was also a trip out of Yerevan. We went to visit Geghard Monastery and Temple of Garni. We spent an evening in the countryside where we had a traditional dinner and could try to bake a traditional Armenian bread, lavash, or to prepare sweet sujukh. It was an amazing experience and I am glad I could be part of it. I would like to thank EYCB and Armenian Progressive Youth for this great opportunity! 


Michaela Šedová


Project report from Study Visit – Stockholm, Sweden, 18-23 February 2019

From 18th till 23rd February a second part of the project named „Building Bridges, Breaking the Walls: Managing Refugee Crisis in Europe“ was held in Stockholm. Both parts were focused on current refugee crises in Europe. The main objective was an effort to introduce and analyze the emigration and immigration situation in participating countries and current refugee crises in Europe, discuss and try to find answer on a question what are causes of the crises and how could be possible to solve it out. 

The project was divided into two phases. The first part took place in Yerevan (Armenia) in November 2018. The second part in Stockholm was organized as a study visit. During the study visit, we visited a three Swedish NGO – FARR, RFSL and Fryshuset. All of them at least partially are trying to help migrants and refugees who come to Sweden to apply for asylum. The most interesting for me was FARR (The Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups) which is trying to strengthen the right of asylum and positive attitude of the Swedish public towards asylum seekers. The local groups are experienced in asylum law and rules. The members of  FARR engage in social support and networking for youth and adults, asylum seekers and try to gather experiences on how the law is interpreted, who are protected or denied protection and the consequences. But also the other two made a big impression on me, especially by their used methods and level of development. In my opinion, a lot of similar NGO (not only from the Czech Republic) could learn a lot from all of them.

I was really glad that I could experience these moments with 28 other participants from 15 different countries. A most of them I had a chance to meet already during the first part of the project in Armenia. But a few faces were new for me in Stockholm because some participants could come only in the second part of this project. Because I didn’t know all participants before I very appreciated the activity called „City race“ which was held a second day. During the race, we created groups of five people and got several tasks which we have to manage in the city center. I can say, It was a great opportunity for everyone to more discover and see the beauty of Stockholm.  But mainly it was a way how to get to know better new participants.

Anežka Karpjáková

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