IWB Training Madrid

The Erasmus+ Project Integration Without Borders (IWB) opened its Second Transnational Meeting and Training Seminar in Madrid on the 17th of January 2016 held in the premises of (UPSAM)-Fundación Pablo VI. It coincided with the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, with a theme that fitted very well with the concerns of IWB, “Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us.”

The five-day Training Seminar organised by the IWB consortium and hosted by our partner in Spain brought together twenty-nine representatives and participants engaged in social work and volunteering with minorities and migrants in different countries in Europe. Two competences, Social Entrepreneurship and Project Development, crucial in the work with these vulnerable groups were addressed in the formation and training of social workers and volunteers. The presentations opened very rich, interesting and lively discussions in the breakout groups and in the plenary.

The training was highlighted by a contact-visit to San Cristóbal de los Ángeles neighbourhood of Madrid that is characterised by low-income population, unemployment, migration, school abandonment and low self-esteem. It gave us the chance to see how an abandoned space under a bridge can be transformed into an open-air Arts and Culture Social Centre and at the same time create the opportunity to empower the youth to be facilitators of diverse cultural activities. The “Puente de Colores” symbolises the will and determination of both locals and community partners to change things for the better and work it out together. In the discussion panel held in Navas de Tolosa Public School, the principal presented efforts on keeping young people in school. The other speakers were the coordinator of Community Intercultural Intervention Project (ICI) and the head of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano in Madrid, speaking on the situation of Roma communities in Spain. The visit concluded with a welcoming and friendly dinner at ECyS Centre, alive with children and women from different nationalities.

The cultural issues of migration were discussed by reviewing the two competences taken up in the IWB Satu Mare Training: Intercultural Competence and Management of Diversity. A significant part of the discussion was on field practices, experiences and real stories brought by the participants themselves generating a spirit of connectedness and mutual concern.

The most important results of the transnational training were learning from each other and encouraging each other’s work. In the coming months, the network will be busy preparing a reference manual for the training of young social workers and volunteers. The Satu Mare and Madrid training experiences will be the springboard in writing the reference manual.

The topics discussed in the IWB Training were very much in tune with the Open Forum Panel From Migration to Integration in the Davos 2016 meeting and with the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) launch event. ARDI has an important role in promoting diversity and policy change.

The role of civil society is indispensable in the acceptance or rejection of new ideas and initiatives on the issue of migration. It can take migration as a phenomenon of crisis turned into problem or as a crisis turned into opportunity for growth, for inclusion, for a more democratic citizenship in the continent and eventually in the world. IWB believes in the latter and focuses all its activities of formation of social workers and volunteers towards values of inclusion and human dignity. In an article, entitled Educazione senza confine” – Education without Borders, a trainee writes about her own experience.

18 February 2016, EDIW – Rome Team 

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