CONNECT, Community for Timișoara, is a project targeting locals and Ukrainian refugees from Timisoara that aims to boost the spirit of belonging while supporting minorities and refugees to integrate professionally as well as via entrepreneurial pathways. The project aims to showcase the roles of foreign people, especially Ukrainian people but also citizens from countries with historical intersectionality’s with Romania, in the development of the city of Timisoara, to raise awareness about the influence other’s have had in the city and how they have contributed to make the city what it is today, while supporting women refuges to re-connect and start building community. This will help break stereotypes and increase a sense of sibling- countries and a shared sense of community among Romanian people and Ukrainians (but also Bulgarian, Moldova and Hungary citizens).
Find our more: https://helix-connect.com/connectdigitalgallery/
What are our lessons learnt ?
|Lesson learnt||Local public sector engagement is crucial.||Public sector actors need to better promote the role of migrants/minorities in urban/cultural development and ensure that citizens become more open to embedding newcommers in their community.|
|Lesson learnt||Refugees do not like to be referred to as “refugees”.||Ukrainian refugees are eager to show to the local community that they are making an effort to be part of the city and they want to have a contributionrather than being seen as “temporary refugees”.|
|Lesson learnt||Language is a barrier to citizen engagement.||Ukrainians who don’t speak English need additional support when it comes to civic and entrepreneurial initiatives|
|Lesson learnt||Single parenting prevents citizen engagement.||A constant obstacle in organising events for the Ukrainian community is linked to the availability of women with children. Given that the majority of mothers had to migrate without their partner, they don’t have a support network to take care of their children. Therefore, the organisers should foresee activities for children as well.|
|Lesson learnt||Ukranian refugees tend to engage in topics tangent to their home-needs.||Ukrainians manifested interest in topics such as the role of civil society, ecology, sustainability and women’s rights, less developed in Ukraine.|
|Lesson learnt||Professional integration (either employment or entrepreneurship) is highly hardened.||Credential recognition, lack of know-how with regards to local legal frameworks and lack of awareness of where to access resources can prohibit refugees to successfully integrate professionally (in places that do not have modern public services) limiting their interest in engaging in urban challenges. On top of this, mental help support is also needed.|
What are our good practices ?
|Good practice||Art-based engagement & sound exploration of cities via humour||The artistic approach created a safe space for discovering the city together and share present and past sensations and memories about urban sounds and landscapes. Through this activity, we especially focused on creating a new common language for refugees and locals, an artistic one, in order to cope with the language barrier. At the same time, isolation is one of the main problems a refugee can face, and the method used during the walks in the city was almost a sort of meditation, an original way of bringing the mind and the body in the present time, in a peaceful group of people|
|Good practice||Cultural storytelling workshops||The workshop and networking session gathered locals and Ukrainians interested about civic engagement and created a safe space for dialogue and self-expression (storytelling approach).|
|Good practice||Creative thinking workshops||The good practice focuses on developing business ideas and offering important information for those who want to start a business but know very little about the Romanian ecosystem.
|Good practice||Collage||Through the technique of collage, the participants worked on the perception they have of themselves, and their emotions. Even if the situation of Ukrainian women is different from the one of Romanians, it was important for them to discover that they have common struggles and aspirations.|
|Good practice||Game based workshops||We discovered that Ukrainian women, from different generations, have a high interest in defending women’s rights and fighting for a more just society, in which women have equal rights with man. It is was also clear that Ukrainians are eager to discover the Romanian society and “learn from their evolution”, as one of the participants declared.|