This page is not listed anywhere and is for the team who will travel to get to know each other.
for now you can use the comment box at bottom of page to write messages to everyonE. For example: “you should write the first letter of the sentence BIG and not the last one”. but obviously we need a better communication tool between us to start organizing this journey together. Maybe someone have skills in this? ideas?
and there’s more stuff to be done, opportunities to be seized. We are one month ahead of departure.
This project is a work in progress, and this is first contact. Let’s start making something from here
Have a look who is in this with you:
Arrival on the 15th at 16:20 at Ljubljana Airport
Hi everyone, I am Aleks, a shoe designer and an animal activist that happened to transform into a humanitarian worker while in shock of the immense human suffering happening trough the Balkans in early 2015. In the moment I work with a local CSO called Legis, coordinating humanitarian operations in Macedonia. There is not much to say about myself and I really don’t like to talk about myself; I am blond 🙂 I like to learn and discover new things. I like to take action and do work that benefits society or people in need. Somehow I manage to be creative in solving problems and I don’t believe in the impossible. As I’ve seen it many times during the last few years, much good can be done if we put our minds and skills together and just start doing it. I look forward in meeting everyone as well as seeing the few familiar faces on this journey.
Arrival in Maribor (Autobvsna postaja) on May 15th at 11.30
In 2014 I spent a year volunteering at the Immigration Office of ARCI Rome. One of my tasks, together with the other volunteers, was to contribute to the work of the legal and administrative help-desks. In particular, we were following asylum seekers during their path towards the Territorial Commission hearing, helping them writing their memoirs and collecting useful documents and evidences.
Last year I started a project focused on migration and EU policies towards third countries. For the first six months I have been researching about the Eastern Mediterranean route in Turkey, mainly from Istanbul and the Turkish South-western coast. Currently I am continuing my research working at ECHIS, a cultural association that works with radio and audio as means to let people tell their own stories, especially when they feel that they do not have a voice or an audience willing to hear. We produce audio documentaries and reportages, and organize workshops focused on storytelling and autobiography.
Arrival 14:59h Maribor Bus station
Passionate about languages and anthropology, I am currently working in a project for asylum seekers in Italy.
Modern nomad recently I discovered the sedentarism, but I am still wondering If I can adapt to it.
Arrival in Graz around 14:00h
As founder of the Emergency Circus and member of Clowns Without Borders and the Gesundheit Institute I have visited refugees in 22 countries around the world. I’ve given keynote speeches on the importance of clowning in difficult situations at the Counterplay conference in Denmark, the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning at the University of Warwick, and at countless schools across the US. I’ve seen first hand the positive power of spreading joy in difficult places and sharing the stories that bring us together as humans.
Arrival 13 May 19:50 in Pula
I’m a 24 Slavic languages and cultures student from Helsinki Finland. I was born in Croatia but i’ve lived in Finland most of my life. Im interested in different cultures and especially minorities and their positions in modern sociaties. Since i was born in previous Yugoslavia during the civilwar, i am well aware of the issues wars bring to people. This is probably the reason why I feel so strongly about the current refugeecrisis.
We are all equal and different and this is what i would want to emphasise in the project i’m going to do (together with Katri from Finland also). I haven’t yet thought about concrete project ideas but i would like to show refugees and asylum seekers in different light as usual. Not as victims but as unique individuals with their own stories to tell. I would like their own voice to get heard. I like photographing so maybe i could somehow combine these ideas. Still, i hope to get more inspiration during Route to Connect.
Arrival ; “She always get’s there, she promises”
One and a half year before this moment, I was a regular 23-year-old Serbian literature student – passing exams that sometimes were pointless to me, having a boyfriend I didn’t love anymore, doing a job I did not like at all. And life, sometimes, gives you this lessons – just to appreciate more what is about to come.
And then it happened. I completely changed my environment, friends, jobs and mindset; this is the moment when I started searching for the lost values of humankind, and when all of those information about the so-called refugee crisis came to my doorstep of conciousness. And I knew, at that point, that this is the part of my life where I will find out about some things that were unreachable to my mind before.
I discovered how it feels when two routes connect; when you are in the fast lane, running wild, and you see with your peripheral sight the other one standing and waiting for someone to help. And for a moment, you hesitate; because that is what you learned, that is what you are being told – to step back and walk away. You have two choices from then on – either to continue running, or stay there and figure out the reasons and solutions for this one to continue. And maybe incude other from the fast lane to stop and help.
And all of a sudden, you sit around a camp fire in Northern Serbia, drinking tea in a freezing cold winter evening with a friend from a country far away, wiping his tears as he’s showing you his newborn baby boy he never saw with his own eyes before – just on the whatsapp images.
I learned how to see with my eyes closed, and my heart open; I learned to dance and not thinking am I looking silly or not. I learned to look and really see. I learned a lot about people’s behaviour, trauma, and other cultures. About listening my inner voice and understand people’s outer expression. So if you ask me why I joined this project, or what does this trip means to me, read between those lines I just wrote.
Have in mind that I figured out what to write here while taking a quick shower; and I couldn’t do that for more that a week! And that is me – I sometimes do things quicky and without further thinking, and it turns out good or bad – and that is not important as long as I have a grasp of learning experience I can hold on to.
And I really don’t know a lot. I don’t know how to cook, or all people who won which Nobel prize in the last 30 years, or what is the capital of Namibia. But I am learning, and I will never stop doing that. And I know I am here, just like you, for a reason.
And that is enough for me to start being happy that I will meet all of you. Keep on being amazing and see you soon!
Arrival 15 May 2 pm Maribor bus station
My parents gave me the name Lea, which can mean anything from being tired, a wild cow, lion or a ruler. Well- somehow words are not always the best way to catch the gist of the things, but still we should try to use them the responsibliest way possible in order to hold up their diversity..
I cannot tell you who I am (because I don’t really know it myself), but I can tell you what I do and why I participate in this project.
I was born and raised up in germany, but since September 2016 I am living in Kosovo, volunteering in GAIA, an environmental human rights and peace organization and SCI branch of Kosovo. I am working with kids in “Imaginatorium”, an alternative educational centre and supporting the work in GAIA- currently planning and preparing workcamps, doing promotion of volunteering and also doing volunteer placement. Besides being active in GAIA, I like be outside in the calm and in the nature, and to learn, to observe and transform the world around me through all kind of media and arts, using them as a tool to tell stories.
I started working with people who have been forced to flee their homes in 2014, through a theatre project in my hometown. We were a group of youngsters from diverse backgrounds and created a play talking about our fears and wishes in the upcoming 21st century. In the meantime, I was volunteering in an initial reception centre that was established in the sports hall of my school till it was shut down after 3 months. Recently I have been volunteering for a week with NGO Fresh Response in Subotica, Serbia, which is supporting the people seeking for refuge who are living outside of camps in squats and jungles. This was a very intensive experience for me, since it pierced my media-shaped perception of the “Balkan route” presenting a single-minded, victimizing image of the people seeking refuge, that is holding them in a way of passive victim ship. After this first experience in Subotica, I would like to get deeper into it, in order to be able to spread a broader image. I think it is crucial to spread a different story about the people coming to Europe, enabling them to be perceived as active and capable humans instead of being perceived as a collective “invading” Europe like a “wave”. I want to contribute with my ideas and energy to the empowerment of people seeking refuge, making their voice and story be heard through activism, also by sharing their stories in places of daily life -where they are kept invisible. I am looking to an active, inspirational and on all levels instructive, challenging journey with you!
Arrival probably midday 15 May in Ljubljana airport
Iam the co- founder of refugees got talent . Originally from Iraq , I studied English at the university of Mosul . I arrived as an asylum seeker in Belgium in 29/7/2015 . Refugees got talent provides a community and a workspace for artists who happen to be either refugees or asylum seekers in a foreign country . The organisation let artists practice their art in a fully -equipped workspace , offers a platform for artists to display their work and creates a supportive community that encourages the artists integrate in the Belgian art network .
Arrival before 6pm on 15th of May, coming with train from Vienna
I study Middle Eastern Studies and Social Psychology at the University of Helsinki, and human rights, migration and peace work are of great interest to me.This world is in desperate need of critical thinking, understanding and helping people to find their potential, and I wish to do my best on these fields. I am an active member of the SCI Finland, and a board member of the UN Youth of Helsinki. My focus in both organisations is very much on refugees and peace work, and after the Route to Connect trip I would love to arrange a larger collaboration project regarding human rights and refugees. In the project I would like to bring together Finnish and refugee youth to consider human rights and the hardships refugees face on their journeys to and within Europe. The youth could come up with ideas to improve the situation, and these ideas could be taken further onto the decision making level with the help of the Finnish 2250 network. The network focuses on implementation of the UN Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security and could be very helpful with the aftermath of the project.
I am really looking forward to the journey and meeting all of you people with a similar cause! I am sure the trip will be tough but extremely rewarding, and we will all create something meaningful afterwards! Until then, peace and love and enjoy the Spring days!
Arrival 15 May 16:10 Ljubljana Airport
Hi team! I’m Marta from Portugal and I can’t wait to meet you all and join you on the Route to Connect trip. I’ve been a communication lover since I can recall. I’ve studied it and then mastered in Management and I’ve always believed communication has a strong power for change through information and awareness. For the past 3 years, I’ve worked in a creative digital agency in Barcelona, being responsible for communication campaigns online and offline, managing shootings and digital strategies, as well as crowdfunding websites and awareness campaigns for a local NGO responsible for refugee rescue tasks in Lesvos and in the Mediterranean, called Proactiva Open Arms. In March 2017, I came back to Lisbon to join the team of “Para Onde?”, the brand-new SCI partner in Portugal and I’m loving the experience! I’m very motivated for this study trip because after 2 years hearing the refugees’ stories from someone else, I want to be the one hearing them myself. Instead of photos, I want to see the real people, look into their eyes, learn their journey and if we are successful enough to raise awareness in the different countries about the situation, we will be able to promote a better understanding and to potentiate more inclusive communities. Hopefully, if we are able to make a change in every hometown, we will be able to chance the course of this crisis.
As part of the team of the SCI partner “Para Onde?” we are already brainstorming about the event we’ll do after the study trip, most probably on Day of Peace (September 21th). We want to gather both refugees and a community of immigrants we work with weekly for a event, in which we want the community to know the cultures of these groups. For that, we want to have different areas: one with different types of food/music/costumes from the different countries, another one where we’ll show video testimonials with headphones to be very intense so everyone knows more about the stories of real people, other area with different workshops to reduce prejudice and increase knowledge, and of course we’d have all the participants at the event to allow for interesting conversations. This is just a plan still, we will start talking with partners to make it real starting next month and I’m sure new ideas will come up during and after the trip. See you soon! 🙂
Arrival Maribor Bus Station at 8:15h
Hello everybody, I am really excited to be part of this project! I have been interested in the issues of migration and refugees since my studies in human rights at university, and I gained more practical knowledge while volunteering for the Italian Red Cross and Caritas’ migration help desk in my hometown, Verona (Italy). With the Italian Red Cross I had a training to become an RFL – restoring family links – operator, i.e. a volunteer who tries and help people find their missing relatives, frequently because of forced migration. Moreover, we distributed food to people who just arrived in Verona, at the police station. Once arrived in Switzerland for my EVS at SCI’s office, I got the chance to participate in the Building Bridges training in Geneva, where I learned more about migration, terminology and the situation in other countries. I am really shocked at how so many people seeking refuge are treated along their journey and I don’t want to become numb to it, I want to learn more and act more. This is why I am so grateful for this opportunity to be part of the A Route to Connect project! After the project, my EVS at SCI Switzerland will be finished, and I don’t know if I will stay in Switzerland or not. But I really want to share what I will learn during the project, so I want to write about the experience and possibly include a workshop during the preparation seminar in June. In October, SCI Switzerland will organise a theater workcamp with refugee kids and if I am still around I would like to give a study session with what we learn in the project. I’m looking forward to meet you all in person!
Arrival probably 15 May noon Ljubljana airport
Hello everybody! My name is Suvi and I’m a 27 years old Finnish SCI volunteer currently living in Belgium. I’m carrying out an EVS project in the international secretariat of SCI in Antwerp. I coordinate the Building Bridges campaign of SCI and I’m one of the trainers of the “A Route To Connect” study trip. I have lived abroad several times and volunteered with children and young people. I’m joining the study trip in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the situation in the so-called Balkan route. I have heard many stories of the refugees in the asylums in Western Europe, but I’m sure that – no matter how well I prepare myself – it will be an eye-opening experience to be exposed to the reality of the refugee camps during the route. For me, one of the most important aspects of the trip is spreading awareness of the situation in the refugee camps, as well as giving visibility to the local refugee initiatives. I look forward to contributing to the project by giving a voice to the people we meet on the way through collecting stories and photographs.
Arrival; exactly on the right moment
Sabine Choucair (Lebanon). I have a BA in Theatre from the Lebanese University and studied at The International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and Desmond Jones School of Mime in London. I am also certified in social therapy from the East Side Institute in New York. I am an active member of the international companies ¨Theatre Amoeba¨ and “Infectious Theatre”, Clowns Without Borders USA and co-founder of Clown Me In www.clownmein.com. I am also the managing director of Beirut Cinema Days Arab film festival and the artistic director of the street theatre Caravan project.
I have done theater, storytelling and group therapy projects around the world with drug addicts, marginalized communities, refugees and youth living in difficult situations. I have worked in countries including Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Mexico, The United States, Brazil, India, Cyprus, and Cameroon.
I know from previous experience that laughter and play are a great healing tool. I also know that using theatre games and improv can have a very positive impact on us humans. I hope to be able to share all of this with you and to learn from each other and from the stories we will be listening to and sharing.
One thing for sure, we all need laughter and we will need it to connect
so be prepared 🙂
Arrival; 14th of May Ljubljana
“Hello everybody , my name is Carmen. I’m an Italian girl, currently living in Greece doing the EVS project in Thessaloniki called United Societies of Balkans. There are many reasons why I decided to apply to this project, but the main one is that I will be an active part of the people that are changing the world. What do I mean with this? I’m not saying that I see myself as super(wo)man or that I see us as a group of super heroes, but in a way this is the only way to make an effective change. Put and push yourself in that reality that you too often watch as a spectator. Reality is closer than we normally expect. I would like to contribute in all the way I can, principally using the skills that I have (the journalistic ones) but also the skills that I’m ready to achieve daily during the Refugee Route. I’m not sure I want to continue an aseptic presentation, because I could say a lot of things about myself but I prefer to show to all of you personally.
My main idea for this project is to use the place where I live now and the project I work for in Greece to spread as much as possible the results of the work we’ll do. I would like to create a mini series of documentaries (video) or written reportages for Greece but also for Italy and, thinking bigger, to share in as many country as possible”.
Arrival on Monday 15 May in Ljubljana by bus at 6 in the morning
I’m Deborah, French EVS at the Greek Forum of Refugees. SCI Hellas is not my hosting organisation but I have connections with them as they are coordinating my EVS.
I graduated in 2015 with a Master degree in History & geopolitics. I will stay in Athens until October this year (at least – I enjoy it so much that I think I will try to stay longer…). My work mainly revolves around the integration of refugees within the Greek society and the protection of their rights. I really appreciate this experience, with which I could develop a lot of knowledge about refugees’ situation, EU asylum policies, UNHCR mandate in Greece among other topics.
Ideas for local projects:
Currently, in collaboration with the other EVS of the GFR (Barbara – she was used to be involved in SCI Catalonia), we have started a project aiming at bringing together nationals and refugees, so that they can exchange through different activities. 2 events will be organised:
– 2nd of June: A “salad fest” to present different ways of cooking according to the culture and tradition of the participants, with a space to play games (here also the idea is to have different examples from different countries so that people discover new ones, have fun and share).
– 11th of June: A guided tour will be organised by refugees or any non-national willing to make people discover different spots of the city. The idea is to change the perception people usually have about the city of Athens. We will focus on associations, citizens’ initiatives and places where people cook to support each other for example. This will be a ‘solidarity tour’ in a way.
To organise it we will run workshops and working groups throughout May (cooking, playing games & building a tour). We would like to learn form our experience and if possible make the project sustainable. For that reason, organising workshops on a regular basis with events from time to time is the idea I would like to share with you before we talk about implementing local actions in detail.
These are only suggestions to what could be done and many other actions can be undertaken; since I’m here, I’ve learnt a lot about all the actions that are implemented to help refugees and raise awareness among the population and I know there are many different ways to contribute to ‘build bridges’ between the people!
Arrival probably noon Ljubljana airport on 15th of May
Mustafa fallen is the co- founder of refugees got talent . Originally from Iraq , I studied English at the university of Mosul . I arrived as an asylum seeker in Belgium in 29/7/2015 . Refugees got talent provides a community and a workspace for artists who happen to be either refugees or asylum seekers in a foreign country . The organisation let artists practice their art in a fully -equipped workspace , offers a platform for artists to display their work and creates a supportive community that encourages the artists integrate in the Belgian art network.
Arrival at Maribor bus station on 15 May at 13:43h
“I am doing an Erasmus Mundus master program in Tourism Management and I am also a researcher in Portugal. I have been doing volunteer work for years now, in several countries, focusing specially in disadvantaged communities. I already published some research about volunteer tourism and now I am studying the tourism’s impacts in local communities. I also do travel very often. I engage with locals. I go out of my comfort zone whenever I can. I walk a lot – done 610km at the Camino de Santiago. I do meditation. Photography. Yoga as well. I lived in several countries. And I do want to change the world 🙂
Branch: Medestu, Portugal. An association that promotes the Arab and Islamic world through the deconstruction of prejudices. The association is also part of the PAR (a Refugee Support Platform), aiming to support refugees in areas such as legal support, language, integration and socialization, among others.
Arrive afternoon 15th may to Maribor
I am sitting at a beautifull beach in Brazil, there’s been tropical rain for days and the waves are amazing. It’s late and i just finished this page, so i will paste a link if anyone wants to read more,
Thank you all for sharing your motivations.
The nature of this journey asks for it that we do all this ice breaking and getting to know each other now. Because we gona do great things, there’s no time to waste.
The preparations of the journey are going good.
There are a few loose ends still, and a lot to do. I am sure in coming weeks we’ll get comfortable everyone can get going with what them do best*