The influx of refugees from Ukraine presents challenges for host countries and refugee organizations in Europe. Slovakia has little prior experience with migrants, while Austria must balance support for Ukrainians with other refugee groups who feel mistreated. Organizations are overwhelmed and need approaches to connect with traumatized refugees.
Art, culture, and creativity can be universal languages to unite diverse individuals and promote inclusion. This project aims to engage refugees, both newly arrived from Ukraine and those already in Europe, through artistic expression. The goals are:
- Foster interaction and exchange among refugees from different backgrounds through art, which requires no language fluency. Promote inclusion through accessible, welcoming activities.
- Display refugee art publicly to showcase their visions and promote core European values of migration and diversity locally. Encourage lasting exchange between refugees and host communities.
- Strengthen organizational capacities to unite people of different backgrounds and introduce innovative social inclusion through art. Empower organizations to work more artistically with refugees.
- Boost refugee self-esteem and mental health through creative outlets.
The project can build connections among refugees and between refugees and host communities through the universal language of art. Shared creative expression and appreciation can support social cohesion and inclusion. Organizations will enhance their capabilities to engage refugees in impactful, healing ways through the arts.
The target group is vulnerable young migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees ages 16-30 interested in developing their artistic talents and improving their mental wellbeing. The project will engage newly arrived Ukrainian refugees as well as migrants and refugees already living in Europe, without discrimination based on nationality. Art will be presented as a potential career, hobby, and tool for overcoming isolation and shifting public opinion.
Fremde werden Freunde has experience working directly with the target group and engaging them in regular activities. They will use proven outreach methods to connect with Ukrainian refugees, employing a Ukrainian-speaking community manager and staff who speak Farsi, Arabic, and Russian. BPI has Ukrainian and Russian-speaking staff to help engage that segment of refugees. The partners will utilize their networks and associated partners with direct access to reach diverse groups based on criteria like backgrounds, artistic interests, availability, skills, and more. The goal is to engage a diverse refugee group, emphasizing young women, leveraging organizational expertise in refugee outreach and support to connect through creative outlets.