Building Bridges Training Course

SCI’s Building Bridges training on working with asylum seekers and refugees took place from 11th to 17th June 2016 in the centre Les Pérouses, in Satigny (Geneva). The training brought together activists and volunteers from all around Europe who are interested in the theme of migration, asylum seekers and refugees, and aimed at sharing knowledge and skills in order for them to improve their projects or start new ones. The training week has been intense, with various activities that, using non-formal education methods, allowed participants to acquire tools and develop skills to apply in their communities once returned back home.

Day 1:The first day was dedicated to teambuilding activities, whereby the participants started to get to know each other and set the right mood for fruitful exchanges

Participants from the Building Bridges Training Course, Geneva, Switzerland (2016)

Day 2: After expressing their expectations, worries and contributions regarding the training's program, the participants worked on clarifying the key definitions on migration and refugee issues and on researching countries of origin of refugees coming to Europe as well as their routes.The evening was dedicated to intercultural exchange, by playing creative games and sharing good food.

Day 3: It was an intense day, full of activities, and learning and sharing opportunities. In the morning, the group were involved in the role-play "Can I come in?" on dynamics between asylum seekers and officials at the borders, which raised mixed emotions and a rich debate during the debriefing session. In the afternoon the participants prepared a "Silent Exhibition", with installations explaining the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in different European countries. Finally, the evening was dedicated to relaxing and recharging, with some games and while others watched the football!

Day 4: A field trip for the Building Bridges Training group! In the morning session, participants discussed challenges that can arise in long-term volunteering projects with asylum seekers and refugees, exchanging personal experiences and knowledge. In the afternoon, the group visited an asylum seekers’ reception center — Hospice Général — in Geneva, where they had the opportunity to ask several questions about the center’s activities and the specifics of the asylum application process in Switzerland. The rest of the day was free for the participants to discover Geneva, try fondue and have lots of fun together!

Building Bridges Training Course, Geneva, Switzerland (2016)

Day 5: The fifth day’s training sessions were dedicated to the topic of short-term projects (such as workcamps) involving refugees and asylum seekers, with activities including a treasure hunt and theatre plays aimed at identifying and tying to resolve possible issues that can arise during such projects. The participants were also given elements of intercultural communication, conflict transformation and non-violent communication.

Day 6: The sixth and last day of activities focussed on projects for raising awareness on forced migrations. Some participants offered a simulation of interesting projects they are implementing in their local communities – such as the Human Library, the One Day Restaurant or Movie Night –, giving the right input for ensuing discussions. The group then outlined workshops and study parts, on different topics regarding migration, which can be implemented in the future. Also, the Building Bridges Toolkit and SCI's Refugee Fund have been presented. Finally, it was time for the evaluation of the training, for drafting a personal plan on how to put the knowledge acquired during the week to good use and for the distribution of certificates.