An ALDA training to the Anna Lindh French Network

Despite the restrictions, ALDA goes on with the organisation of training sessions to support and empower our members and partners.

Last February 4th, 2021, our colleague and expert trainer Anna Ditta, led a virtual course on the theme “The New Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027: What opportunities?”, addressed to the members’ network of the Management Support Programme of the Anna Lindh Foundation (FAL), ALDA’s French members and supported by the Foundation’s French Network.

This hybrid training, with participants attending on-site in Strasbourg and others connected online, aimed to give information about the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the priorities set by the European Union through the different funding programmes.

A partnership stimulating contacts with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, fostering cooperation activities and joint advocacy

The training was conducted in two stages: a first theoretical part on negotiations, priorities and programmes, followed by a second practical part, where attendees were divided in sub-groups, thus facilitating the learning and the acquainting with project development tools. The training allowed good interaction among participants, both online and on-site, and ALDA’s trainers and facilitators. The aim of this practical exercise was to create cohesion and develop connections between the representatives of the associations.

After the training, a presentation of the European Parliament was given by Mrs Stina Stangren, Head of Unit for Visits to the Parliament. Thus, attended had the opportunity to ask more specific questions about the work of the Parliament, but also about the role of citizens within the institution.

Despite the restrictions, ALDA goes on with the organisation of training sessions to support and empower our members and partners.

Last February 4th, 2021, our colleague and expert trainer Anna Ditta, led a virtual course on the theme “The New Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027: What opportunities?”, addressed to the members’ network of the Management Support Programme of the Anna Lindh Foundation (FAL), ALDA’s French members and supported by the Foundation’s French Network.

This hybrid training, with participants attending on-site in Strasbourg and others connected online, aimed to give information about the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the priorities set by the European Union through the different funding programmes.

A partnership stimulating contacts with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, fostering cooperation activities and joint advocacy

The training was conducted in two stages: a first theoretical part on negotiations, priorities and programmes, followed by a second practical part, where attendees were divided in sub-groups, thus facilitating the learning and the acquainting with project development tools. The training allowed good interaction among participants, both online and on-site, and ALDA’s trainers and facilitators. The aim of this practical exercise was to create cohesion and develop connections between the representatives of the associations.

After the training, a presentation of the European Parliament was given by Mrs Stina Stangren, Head of Unit for Visits to the Parliament. Thus, attended had the opportunity to ask more specific questions about the work of the Parliament, but also about the role of citizens within the institution.


ALDA renews its REF - Réseau Euromed France membership

Since 2019, ALDA has been engaged in the REF – Réseau Euromed France, a network reuniting French organisations working in the Mediterranean area who share common values and cover a variety of topics, such as youth and education, arts and culture, migration, social and solidarity economy, the environment, gender equality, human rights…

ALDA is particularly engaged, as a member of the Steering Committee:

  • in the MAJALAT programme, which seeks to create spaces for dialogue between civil society organisations of the Southern shore of the Mediterranean and the EU
  • and in the Jeunesses Mediterranéennes programme, a pluri-thematic network of young Mediterranean activists.

ALDA, and specifically its Middle East & Africa department, brings its expertise on topics such as good governance, citizens participation but also migration, thematics on which we co-organised workshops in the framework of the Jeunesses Méditerranéennes meetings in Tunis in April 2019. We as well are engaged to organise the next meetings which should take place in Marseille in July 2021.

A partnership stimulating contacts with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, fostering cooperation activities and joint advocacy

In 2020, ALDA has been awarded a “FAIRgrant by the network, in partnership with the French NGO Solidarité Laïque, which is supporting the organisation of a seminar on the topic of french-tunisian decentralised cooperation and the role of civil society in this process which will take place the next 5th March.

Moreover, the participation in this network allows ALDA to be in constant contact with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, and represents a great opportunity for partnership building and joint advocacy.

Let’s see what else we can build together!

Since 2019, ALDA has been engaged in the REF – Réseau Euromed France, a network reuniting French organisations working in the Mediterranean area who share common values and cover a variety of topics, such as youth and education, arts and culture, migration, social and solidarity economy, the environment, gender equality, human rights…

ALDA is particularly engaged, as a member of the Steering Committee:

  • in the MAJALAT programme, which seeks to create spaces for dialogue between civil society organisations of the Southern shore of the Mediterranean and the EU
  • and in the Jeunesses Mediterranéennes programme, a pluri-thematic network of young Mediterranean activists.

ALDA, and specifically its Middle East & Africa department, brings its expertise on topics such as good governance, citizens participation but also migration, thematics on which we co-organised workshops in the framework of the Jeunesses Méditerranéennes meetings in Tunis in April 2019. We as well are engaged to organise the next meetings which should take place in Marseille in July 2021.

A partnership stimulating contacts with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, fostering cooperation activities and joint advocacy

In 2020, ALDA has been awarded a “FAIRgrant by the network, in partnership with the French NGO Solidarité Laïque, which is supporting the organisation of a seminar on the topic of french-tunisian decentralised cooperation and the role of civil society in this process which will take place the next 5th March.

Moreover, the participation in this network allows ALDA to be in constant contact with organisations working in all corners of the Mediterranean, and represents a great opportunity for partnership building and joint advocacy.

Let’s see what else we can build together!


ALDA and METRO-ADAPT project at “The Nature of Cities” Festival

This March – from 22nd to 26th – ALDA joined the “The Nature of Cities” – a virtual festival to engage stakeholders from the whole globe into  discussions on the future of our cities, as more sustainable, fair and just places to live.

During the myriad of workshops and roundtable sessions, participants had the chance to listen to great speakers tackling different topics: from ecosystem to urban nature and economic growth; and from strategies to raise awareness and help city governments, to the impact of Natural based solution on health.

"There is a need to build up awareness among our communities as far as this topic concerns"

Within the framework of our project METRO ADAPT (Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Measures in the Metropolitan City of Milan) , ALDA played an active role in the festival. More precisely, our Secretary General – Antonella Valmorbida – together with Mary Rowe – President of the Canadian Urban Institute, got virtually together in the session “Participation, Local Democracy and Sustainable Cities” to talk about the role of local communities as key actors for cities and urban areas’ sustainability. This webinar not only was a fruitful occasion of sharing; but it also served as good food for thoughts. Hence, as suggested by our Secretary General, “there is a need to build up awareness among our communities as far as this topic concerns”. Furthermore, our project manager Marta Arosio actively contributed, giving sharp hints during her “micro-talks” on “enhancing climate change adaptation strategies and measures” referring especially to the Metropolitan City of Milan.

The TNOC Festival was organised all around the globe, in different languages so that to allow participants to fully embrace this experience. Art workshops, virtual field tours have been specifically designed for this occasion, also encouraging the use of imagination to shape the cities of the future. A virtual “city of future” has been created, so that people could meet online with the event organisers; talk to each other, while walking around the imaginary city.

To walk around the city, please visit: Topia

To know more about the Festival, visit: The Nature of Cities Festival website

This March – from 22nd to 26th – ALDA joined the “The Nature of Cities” – a virtual festival to engage stakeholders from the whole globe into  discussions on the future of our cities, as more sustainable, fair and just places to live.

During the myriad of workshops and roundtable sessions, participants had the chance to listen to great speakers tackling different topics: from ecosystem to urban nature and economic growth; and from strategies to raise awareness and help city governments, to the impact of Natural based solution on health.

"There is a need to build up awareness among our communities as far as this topic concerns"

Within the framework of our project METRO ADAPT (Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Measures in the Metropolitan City of Milan) , ALDA played an active role in the festival. More precisely, our Secretary General – Antonella Valmorbida – together with Mary Rowe – President of the Canadian Urban Institute, got virtually together in the session “Participation, Local Democracy and Sustainable Cities” to talk about the role of local communities as key actors for cities and urban areas’ sustainability. This webinar not only was a fruitful occasion of sharing; but it also served as good food for thoughts. Hence, as suggested by our Secretary General, “there is a need to build up awareness among our communities as far as this topic concerns”. Furthermore, our project manager Marta Arosio actively contributed, giving sharp hints during her “micro-talks” on “enhancing climate change adaptation strategies and measures” referring especially to the Metropolitan City of Milan.

The TNOC Festival was organised all around the globe, in different languages so that to allow participants to fully embrace this experience. Art workshops, virtual field tours have been specifically designed for this occasion, also encouraging the use of imagination to shape the cities of the future. A virtual “city of future” has been created, so that people could meet online with the event organisers; talk to each other, while walking around the imaginary city.

To walk around the city, please visit: Topia

To know more about the Festival, visit: The Nature of Cities Festival website


Junior Finances officer (Italy)

ALDA is looking for a Junior Finances Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will deal with the financial reporting of projects closely working with project manager and the senior staff of ALDA; update the ALDA financial instruments for analytic accountability and registration; draft dossiers with justificatory documents; support Project Managers and the Head of the Financial Department about reallocation of projects.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Junior Finances Officer”.

ALDA is looking for a Junior Finances Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will deal with the financial reporting of projects closely working with project manager and the senior staff of ALDA; update the ALDA financial instruments for analytic accountability and registration; draft dossiers with justificatory documents; support Project Managers and the Head of the Financial Department about reallocation of projects.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Junior Finances Officer”.


Experienced EU projects reporting officer (Italy)

ALDA is looking for an experienced EU projects reporting officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will report projects, manage relations with partners, reallocations of budget and secretary activities.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Experienced EU projects reporting officer”.

ALDA is looking for an experienced EU projects reporting officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will report projects, manage relations with partners, reallocations of budget and secretary activities.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Experienced EU projects reporting officer”.


Administration Officer (Italy)

ALDA is looking for an Administration Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will manage payments, cash flow, general accounting and administration.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Administration officer”.

ALDA is looking for an Administration Officer based in Vicenza (Italy) who, reporting directly to the Head of the Financial Department, will manage payments, cash flow, general accounting and administration.

Interested candidates in line with the profile described above should send their CV and cover letter in English (including 3 names and contacts of professional references) by March 10th, 2021 (23.59 CET Time) to job@aldaintranet.org with the following subject line: “Administration officer”.


ALDA is again part of the Council of Advisors’ US National Civic League

Environmental sustainability, education and youth leadership are among the main areas of interests in which the US National Civic League is actively involved. Specifically, civic engagement is considered to be crucial in order to tackle the above-mentioned sphere of interests. the National Civic League has been part of the activities of ALDA thanks to the cooperation established with the Kettering Foundation. Together, we study and develop mechanisms of citizens participation to make local democracy work as it should !

The idea behind the Council of Advisors is to create a platform to discuss on specific topics and issues as far as citizens participation and local democracy concern

Considering the great experience of ALDA in promoting local participation and supporting citizens’ initiatives, our Secretary General, Antonella Valmorbida, continues to actively participate in the Council of Advisors. The latter includes prominent professionals and experts, who work within the realm of citizens participation and CSOs. Thus, the idea behind the Council of Advisors is to create a platform to discuss on specific topics and issues as far as the above-mentioned areas concern.

The renewal of this strategic participation of ALDA within National Civic League’s Council of Advisors not only is the perfect occasion to exchange knowledge, but it also confirms the role of ALDA as a key stakeholder at international level.

To know more please visit National Civic League website

Environmental sustainability, education and youth leadership are among the main areas of interests in which the US National Civic League is actively involved. Specifically, civic engagement is considered to be crucial in order to tackle the above-mentioned sphere of interests. the National Civic League has been part of the activities of ALDA thanks to the cooperation established with the Kettering Foundation. Together, we study and develop mechanisms of citizens participation to make local democracy work as it should !

The idea behind the Council of Advisors is to create a platform to discuss on specific topics and issues as far as citizens participation and local democracy concern

Considering the great experience of ALDA in promoting local participation and supporting citizens’ initiatives, our Secretary General, Antonella Valmorbida, continues to actively participate in the Council of Advisors. The latter includes prominent professionals and experts, who work within the realm of citizens participation and CSOs. Thus, the idea behind the Council of Advisors is to create a platform to discuss on specific topics and issues as far as the above-mentioned areas concern.

The renewal of this strategic participation of ALDA within National Civic League’s Council of Advisors not only is the perfect occasion to exchange knowledge, but it also confirms the role of ALDA as a key stakeholder at international level.

To know more please visit National Civic League website


Call for members - Apply to receive full technical assistance in the development of your project!

We are getting ready for the new EU multiannual financial period and we are looking for innovative and fresh ideas to develop! We are thrilled to share with our members an exciting new call that will help us establishing new ways to collaborate!

We wish to create the opportunity to create new synergies within the network of members in order to develop new projects to be submitted to some of the new programmes of the EU multiannual financial period (2021-2027).

The 3 best ideas will be offered full technical assistance in finding the best funding opportunity, developing, and writing the project, and submitting it.

If you are a member of ALDA, don’t think twice!

Describe the proposal that you have in mind by highlighting the following points:

  • Title of the Project
  • Ideal Consortium of Partner and Geographical focus
  • Addressed Problems/Challenges
  • Key Actors
  • Main Goals
  • Expected Results
  • Activities foreseen by the project
  • Any other information

And send it via email within March 28th to our membership officer, Eva Trentin: membership@alda-europe.eu

Please, specify the person we will have to be in contact with, in case of selection.

The proposals must comply with specific requirements:

  • The proposals can be related to different topics (sustainability, inclusion, youth etc.) but they need to be linked in general terms to local governance.
  • They must have a translational approach.

The proposal must be written in English. Proposals that are missing one or more sections will not be taken into consideration.

After the deadline, ALDA’s projects development unit will select the 3 best ideas and, upon verification of feasibility, will offer to the member applicants free coaching and technical assistance in identifying the right programs, as well as in writing and submitting the project, upon agreement that ALDA will be included in the consortium of partners.

We hope that this call will also give us the opportunity to develop new thematic working groups facilitated by ALDA for our network, in order to create the opportunity to collaborate closely on project drafting.

Please fill in the attached module and send it back to Eva Trentin: membership@alda-europe.eu within March the 28th, specifying as indicated in the module also the person we will have to be in contact with in case of selection.

Please be aware that by participating in this call, you authorize ALDA to modify, transform, rework, and adapt the drafts and to use your output for the fulfilment of its institutional commitments following communication with the concerned author.

If you need more detail or information, please write to Eva Trentin – Membership Officer – membership@alda-europe.eu

We hope to receive plenty of ideas and start joining forces soon!

N.B. If you wish to apply to this call you must be an ALDA member, if you are not yet, you might consider this possibility.

Click HERE to know how you can request the membership!

We are getting ready for the new EU multiannual financial period and we are looking for innovative and fresh ideas to develop! We are thrilled to share with our members an exciting new call that will help us establishing new ways to collaborate!

We wish to create the opportunity to create new synergies within the network of members in order to develop new projects to be submitted to some of the new programmes of the EU multiannual financial period (2021-2027).

The 3 best ideas will be offered full technical assistance in finding the best funding opportunity, developing, and writing the project, and submitting it.

If you are a member of ALDA, don’t think twice!

Describe the proposal that you have in mind by highlighting the following points:

  • Title of the Project
  • Ideal Consortium of Partner and Geographical focus
  • Addressed Problems/Challenges
  • Key Actors
  • Main Goals
  • Expected Results
  • Activities foreseen by the project
  • Any other information

And send it via email within March 28th to our membership officer, Eva Trentin: membership@alda-europe.eu

Please, specify the person we will have to be in contact with, in case of selection.

The proposals must comply with specific requirements:

  • The proposals can be related to different topics (sustainability, inclusion, youth etc.) but they need to be linked in general terms to local governance.
  • They must have a translational approach.

The proposal must be written in English. Proposals that are missing one or more sections will not be taken into consideration.

After the deadline, ALDA’s projects development unit will select the 3 best ideas and, upon verification of feasibility, will offer to the member applicants free coaching and technical assistance in identifying the right programs, as well as in writing and submitting the project, upon agreement that ALDA will be included in the consortium of partners.

We hope that this call will also give us the opportunity to develop new thematic working groups facilitated by ALDA for our network, in order to create the opportunity to collaborate closely on project drafting.

Please fill in the attached module and send it back to Eva Trentin: membership@alda-europe.euu within March the 28th, specifying as indicated in the module also the person we will have to be in contact with in case of selection.

Please be aware that by participating in this call, you authorize ALDA to modify, transform, rework, and adapt the drafts and to use your output for the fulfilment of its institutional commitments following communication with the concerned author.

If you need more detail or information, please write to Eva Trentin – Membership Officer – membership@alda-europe.eu

We hope to receive plenty of ideas and start joining forces soon!

N.B. If you wish to apply to this call you must be an ALDA member, if you are not yet, you might consider this possibility.

Click HERE to know how you can request the membership!


ALDA Secretary General within EMI political committee

Networking, debating and sharing ideas with other actors  – be they Civil Society Organisations, Municipalities, Citizens or Institutions – is a fundamental aspect in the overall ALDA mission.

Thus, our Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida has an active role within the European Movement International (EMI), specifically in the political committee (PC) working on Democracy, Citizen Participation and Fundamental Values.

From a general perspective, the focus of EMI is to discuss on EU policies, while including European civil society in the debate, and influence the decision-making process in Brussels and beyond. At the moment there are three committees:

Great effort from the PC is directed in ensuring that the civil society is actively involved

As previously mentioned, ALDA is actively involved in the first one, whose policy areas go from fostering citizen’s participation, to increasing transparency of decision-making; as well as defending the EU’s fundamental values. Specific attention is also give to the Conference on the Future of Europe. In this case, great effort from the PC is directed in ensuring that the civil society is actively involved throughout the process of preparing, delivering and following-up the Conference itself.

This new role within EMI is not only a great opportunity for ALDA to consolidate its relations, but also it is the perfect occasion to take another step in supporting good local governance and citizen participation.

To know more please visit EMI website

Networking, debating and sharing ideas with other actors  – be they Civil Society Organisations, Municipalities, Citizens or Institutions – is a fundamental aspect in the overall ALDA mission.

Thus, our Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida has an active role within the European Movement International (EMI), specifically in the political committee (PC) working on Democracy, Citizen Participation and Fundamental Values.

From a general perspective, the focus of EMI is to discuss on EU policies, while including European civil society in the debate, and influence the decision-making process in Brussels and beyond. At the moment there are three committees:

Great effort from the PC is directed in ensuring that the civil society is actively involved

As previously mentioned, ALDA is actively involved in the first one, whose policy areas go from fostering citizen’s participation, to increasing transparency of decision-making; as well as defending the EU’s fundamental values. Specific attention is also give to the Conference on the Future of Europe. In this case, great effort from the PC is directed in ensuring that the civil society is actively involved throughout the process of preparing, delivering and following-up the Conference itself.

This new role within EMI is not only a great opportunity for ALDA to consolidate its relations, but also it is the perfect occasion to take another step in supporting good local governance and citizen participation.

To know more please visit EMI website


Refugee Camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina - personal blog

By Kljajić Sara – unmo.academia.edu/SaraKljajić

I come from a small country in Europe, named Bosnia and Herzegovina. We recently started recovering from consequences of the war that happened less than 30 years ago, and never fully got on our feet again.

For a couple of years now, media headlines have been constantly buzzing about the “refugee crisis”, highlighting articles that propagate intolerance and revulsion towards members of such groups, exaggerating and sometimes even falsely presenting possible conflict situations in which migrants were involved (or maybe not?).

I am immensely sorry for we have become insensitive to other people’s misfortune and pain in hard times, neglecting the fact most of us or our families had to run from their home during a (mentioned) war outbreak. We forget so easily what it’s like to leave everything and run away, simply live by running, but run for life… What it’s like to wish to belong somewhere again, to have a constant environment, at least for a while. Overwhelmed with change and fear of attachment, these people are scared to adopt any habits, because they know they will eventually have to leave and start all over.

Imagine everything beginning to seem strange and no longer being sure if you are completely yourself. Like you left little pieces of you along the way. I would start to wonder if I have anything left…

I started to think if there was something we could all do to make their journey a little more bearable. Suddenly, an unexpected joy came into my life – the great joy of meeting and communicating with those very same people.

Cooperation experience

Interactive workshops started in December 2019, as a part of the IMPACT project funded by the EU Erasmus + program, and implemented as a process of cooperation between the Local Democracy Agency Mostar and the Mostar Youth Theater, of which I am a member (along with more volunteers). We were meeting for five weeks – a total of 15 times for 2 or 3 hours and, simply put, exchanged Love.

Usually, different families would come to each workshop, often there were children, too. But, some of them came two, three or even more times and always begged us to participate and come with us again, when we came to the Salakovac Refugee Camp in a van, in which the number of passengers is limited to seven. Sometimes, one of us, organizers and volunteers, would undertake additional transportation by their personal vehicle, so that no one of the refugees would be disappointed. Read More History of France

At first, it was very difficult sparking them to open up. We did not want to push it, since it’s understandable how painful it can be to talk about everything they’ve run away from, to share shocking experiences that we, especially young ones, have heard only in the stories of the elderly, who took part in the war.

We tried to encourage the conversation with music, dance, jokes and games. On one occasion we placed several objects on the stage. Those were objects commonly seen in one’s home: an undershirt, a pot lid, a coffee cup, one shoe… They were scattered, almost as if someone had left them in such a hurry, grabbing everything he could manage to bring. This shook them, probably revived the memories and they started to speak more honestly and openly about their feelings. We listened, quietly. Because, what clever can be said about the testimony of the man whose brother was killed, in front of his eyes?! That you understand!? His pain??!!

NO, we could, nor say or feel that…

Just listen…

From that moment, many encounters, that took place in Studentski hotel Mostar, passed by us listening to these unimaginable experiences, and slowly becoming more aware that it could have befallen any of us. To feel still unhealed scars of their pain, loss and fear, but to be a pillar, a support, a crying shoulder, to someone, without him feeling weaker because of it, is truly a great success and a blessing.

As nights passed by, each one of them burdened my consciousness with the same dream, over and over again. Whenever I wake up, turn around and go back to sleep, it just goes on like someone pressed play. I was waking up visibly tired. War, fear, uncertainty, suspense, danger, escape… The list just went on and on. At least, while sleeping, I felt, at least a part of those intimidating feelings. I realized on some strange level, what it’s like when fear becomes your main actuator, but also a source of inconceivable strength. Helplessness, loss, persecution… All that matters, is to survive and escape.

People often claim that we cannot significantly help a person if we haven’t experienced similar life circumstances on our own. I usually agree with the popular saying about “walking in someone’s shoes first”. But isn’t it even easier for us, young people, who have not yet tasted this torment, to be supportive, to take a part of that pain, which we still don’t understand, onto ourselves, to gift them humanly compassion, a smile, a hug?

We sang together, drew each other, and then rolled in laughter. We played sports with the children and taught them to draw an elephant, a flower, a tree… They showed us their traditional steps in dance. One kind Iraqi gentleman even brought ukulele and performed and old Kurdish song.

"I am immensely sorry for we have become insensitive to other people’s misfortune and pain"

Nothing can stop you

Although we often had language barriers, even when there were no translators, we managed to communicate with our hands, eyes, sounds. The result was a magnificent synthesis of many different cultures. While we always organized a snack, toured the city, took them to try delicious cakes – physical and material support could hardly be compared to the strength of the mental help we succeeded to provide, for which they were deeply grateful.

The motive that guided us through this whole process is the ideal of equality. So, during one of the workshops, we were making masks. Whoever wanted his mask to be made, would lie on the nylon and we would start working. That wasn’t a short process. Sometimes it lasted up to 20 minutes or more. Most of the “models” were children who were lying still and patiently all the time. We were delighted with the absence of hyperactivity and the need to constantly provoke someone’s attention, which we almost always encounter among younger ages. When the masks were done, we would explain to them why we made them in the first place:

“Looking at the mask, we can’t conclude anything about the skin color, nationality, religion or any other imaginary traits we associate with people as padlocks of prejudice.”

The message is quite clear. We are all the same kind, we are all human, and we all need Love. It is the source of energy that drives the world and brings together even complete strangers. LET’S JUST LOVE EACH OTHER!! Read Oldest Language in the World

Changing the world

Civic activism at this time, except political turmoil and business scandals, must focus on other burning questions of the community in which it inhabits, without ignoring the above, no matter how much it is subject to insecurity and prejudice by passive citizens and stereotypically, never discussed among them.

From the collected stories and experiences, we decided to make a play and speak publicly about the life of refugees. We hope that with this act we will remind other people to do to others only what they would like to experience on, and in their own skin.

The play is called “GAME”, for many symbolic reasons. The premiere is coming soon and, in the future, we are determined to travel across the world, sharing this painful, but beautiful experience through forms of art, and perform on many famous stages in honor of human compassion and the almightiness of LOVE!

In the end, no matter how small your country might be on the map, you can still make a BIG difference in world becoming a better and a warmer place! Keep on going.

By Kljajić Sara – unmo.academia.edu/SaraKljajić

I come from a small country in Europe, named Bosnia and Herzegovina. We recently started recovering from consequences of the war that happened less than 30 years ago, and never fully got on our feet again.

For a couple of years now, media headlines have been constantly buzzing about the “refugee crisis”, highlighting articles that propagate intolerance and revulsion towards members of such groups, exaggerating and sometimes even falsely presenting possible conflict situations in which migrants were involved (or maybe not?).

I am immensely sorry for we have become insensitive to other people’s misfortune and pain in hard times, neglecting the fact most of us or our families had to run from their home during a (mentioned) war outbreak. We forget so easily what it’s like to leave everything and run away, simply live by running, but run for life… What it’s like to wish to belong somewhere again, to have a constant environment, at least for a while. Overwhelmed with change and fear of attachment, these people are scared to adopt any habits, because they know they will eventually have to leave and start all over.

Imagine everything beginning to seem strange and no longer being sure if you are completely yourself. Like you left little pieces of you along the way. I would start to wonder if I have anything left…

I started to think if there was something we could all do to make their journey a little more bearable. Suddenly, an unexpected joy came into my life – the great joy of meeting and communicating with those very same people.

Cooperation experience

Interactive workshops started in December 2019, as a part of the IMPACT project funded by the EU Erasmus + program, and implemented as a process of cooperation between the Local Democracy Agency Mostar and the Mostar Youth Theater, of which I am a member (along with more volunteers). We were meeting for five weeks – a total of 15 times for 2 or 3 hours and, simply put, exchanged Love.

Usually, different families would come to each workshop, often there were children, too. But, some of them came two, three or even more times and always begged us to participate and come with us again, when we came to the Salakovac Refugee Camp in a van, in which the number of passengers is limited to seven. Sometimes, one of us, organizers and volunteers, would undertake additional transportation by their personal vehicle, so that no one of the refugees would be disappointed. Read More History of France

At first, it was very difficult sparking them to open up. We did not want to push it, since it’s understandable how painful it can be to talk about everything they’ve run away from, to share shocking experiences that we, especially young ones, have heard only in the stories of the elderly, who took part in the war.

We tried to encourage the conversation with music, dance, jokes and games. On one occasion we placed several objects on the stage. Those were objects commonly seen in one’s home: an undershirt, a pot lid, a coffee cup, one shoe… They were scattered, almost as if someone had left them in such a hurry, grabbing everything he could manage to bring. This shook them, probably revived the memories and they started to speak more honestly and openly about their feelings. We listened, quietly. Because, what clever can be said about the testimony of the man whose brother was killed, in front of his eyes?! That you understand!? His pain??!!

NO, we could, nor say or feel that…

Just listen…

From that moment, many encounters, that took place in Studentski hotel Mostar, passed by us listening to these unimaginable experiences, and slowly becoming more aware that it could have befallen any of us. To feel still unhealed scars of their pain, loss and fear, but to be a pillar, a support, a crying shoulder, to someone, without him feeling weaker because of it, is truly a great success and a blessing.

As nights passed by, each one of them burdened my consciousness with the same dream, over and over again. Whenever I wake up, turn around and go back to sleep, it just goes on like someone pressed play. I was waking up visibly tired. War, fear, uncertainty, suspense, danger, escape… The list just went on and on. At least, while sleeping, I felt, at least a part of those intimidating feelings. I realized on some strange level, what it’s like when fear becomes your main actuator, but also a source of inconceivable strength. Helplessness, loss, persecution… All that matters, is to survive and escape.

People often claim that we cannot significantly help a person if we haven’t experienced similar life circumstances on our own. I usually agree with the popular saying about “walking in someone’s shoes first”. But isn’t it even easier for us, young people, who have not yet tasted this torment, to be supportive, to take a part of that pain, which we still don’t understand, onto ourselves, to gift them humanly compassion, a smile, a hug?

We sang together, drew each other, and then rolled in laughter. We played sports with the children and taught them to draw an elephant, a flower, a tree… They showed us their traditional steps in dance. One kind Iraqi gentleman even brought ukulele and performed and old Kurdish song.

"I am immensely sorry for we have become insensitive to other people’s misfortune and pain"

Nothing can stop you

Although we often had language barriers, even when there were no translators, we managed to communicate with our hands, eyes, sounds. The result was a magnificent synthesis of many different cultures. While we always organized a snack, toured the city, took them to try delicious cakes – physical and material support could hardly be compared to the strength of the mental help we succeeded to provide, for which they were deeply grateful.

The motive that guided us through this whole process is the ideal of equality. So, during one of the workshops, we were making masks. Whoever wanted his mask to be made, would lie on the nylon and we would start working. That wasn’t a short process. Sometimes it lasted up to 20 minutes or more. Most of the “models” were children who were lying still and patiently all the time. We were delighted with the absence of hyperactivity and the need to constantly provoke someone’s attention, which we almost always encounter among younger ages. When the masks were done, we would explain to them why we made them in the first place:

“Looking at the mask, we can’t conclude anything about the skin color, nationality, religion or any other imaginary traits we associate with people as padlocks of prejudice.”

The message is quite clear. We are all the same kind, we are all human, and we all need Love. It is the source of energy that drives the world and brings together even complete strangers. LET’S JUST LOVE EACH OTHER!! Read Oldest Language in the World

Changing the world

Civic activism at this time, except political turmoil and business scandals, must focus on other burning questions of the community in which it inhabits, without ignoring the above, no matter how much it is subject to insecurity and prejudice by passive citizens and stereotypically, never discussed among them.

From the collected stories and experiences, we decided to make a play and speak publicly about the life of refugees. We hope that with this act we will remind other people to do to others only what they would like to experience on, and in their own skin.

The play is called “GAME”, for many symbolic reasons. The premiere is coming soon and, in the future, we are determined to travel across the world, sharing this painful, but beautiful experience through forms of art, and perform on many famous stages in honor of human compassion and the almightiness of LOVE!

In the end, no matter how small your country might be on the map, you can still make a BIG difference in world becoming a better and a warmer place! Keep on going.