As we explained to you a month ago, from May 10 to 13 we traveled to Greece to close the Re-Generations project. The collaboration with the Italian (Defence for Children) and Greek (ARSIS) entities has lasted three years and, in that time, we have managed to get both entities to start up social mentoring for young migrants in Genoa and Thessaloniki. To assess the experience with a broad vision, we had the presence of young people and volunteers from Punt de Referència, who made their voices heard, accompanied by technicians from the international area, Mariona Sementé and Xavi Florido.
The trip offered a wide variety of activities, such as a guided visit to the resources of the host entity ARSIS, an experiential workshop to collect the mentoring experiences of young people and volunteers from the three countries, and a very fun improvisational theater workshop. The final closing ceremony of the project was held on the last day, during which the young people of Punt de Referència read a manifesto that they had prepared especially for the occasion:
These days we have been able to reflect on what it means to be young. Being young implies dreaming, dreaming of everything you want to achieve: being able to study what you like, enjoying yourself quietly with your friends, meeting new people, working on what makes you vibrate, and thinking that everything you set out to do is possible. We, like many other young people in the world, decided to leave our homes to be able to achieve all this in another country and, ultimately, to be able to have a better future. They had told us about Europe as a place where we could dream, a place full of facilities to study, work, be able to have a good life, build a good future and be able to live in peace. In short, we had been told that Europe was easy. Nothing in that dream called Europe was easy; neither the trip to arrive nor the first days. We arrive at a hostile place where we find more doors closed than open. Obtaining the documents to be able to have a legal residence has been our greatest concern, which even leads people to live on the street. Without documents or a house, it is impossible to be able to work, earn a living and, ultimately, dream of a better future.
When we arrived, we were children, with very clear ideas and eager to work on our future. We just needed Europe to really have its arms open, but we found that the institutions did not embrace us. One day we arrived at Punt de Referència and found a place where they listened to us, valued us, and we received guidance on education, social and work issues. Having a mentor has helped us to have a person to trust and who is by your side, to believe in ourselves and to believe again that a better future is possible. We have discovered new places in Barcelona, learned the language, met new people, and have received all the necessary support to continue. We can only thank the mentorship.
We want other young people to have the same luck that we have had, so: ONE MENTOR FOR EVERY YOUTH. If we want a better world, all of us here have some duties: change our way of thinking, put an end to discrimination, learn to love the other and learn to live together, as in a true community.
To all the boys who lost their lives trying to get there: we will make a better world!
After the experience, we wanted to collect the testimonies of two of the participantss: Estefanía, a volunteer, and Dana, a young woman.
“It was very interesting for me to know the casuistry of each country and what determines the way of working with mentoring. For example, I was struck by the fact that most young people who come to Greece intend to go to other countries and not settle there. I think it must be very difficult to set up the link with the mentor with this background reality.
The trip with the young people and other volunteers enriched me a lot. I think we made a very cool team and shared beautiful conversations”.
“I would go back again! I really liked getting on a plane and seeing how an airport works. Later, in Greece, I learned a lot about how Europe receives young immigrants. Everyone asked me a lot of questions about my experience with my mentor, Bernat. I spoke a lot in those days!” Dana
The collaboration with the Greek and Italian entities will continue within the framework of the new international project Road to Adulthood, which we will tell you about soon.