UNHCR kickstarted the awarness-raising project “In their sneakers” aimed at secondary school pupils in Serbia

How it feels to, at least for a day, walk in refugee “sneakers” and experience the overnight loss of everything that matters in one’s life became a bit clearer to the participants of the workshop on refugee integration, which was organized in Belgrade by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

An interactive workshop gathered together the representatives of 13 schools from across the country – Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kruševac, Jagodina, Subotica, Sombor, Bajina Bašta, Negotin, Tutin,and Bujanovac – and therefore marked the beginning of UNHCR’s year-long project with local youth dubbed “In their Sneakers”.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing increasing numbers of forcibly displaced people worldwide year-to-year, and the current crisis in Ukraine represents yet another example in the line of tragic events which force people to flee from their homes. The support of all relevant actors and stakeholders is thus necessary in order for refugees to overcome the traumatic experiences they have been through and to integrate successfully in their countries of destination,” underlines UNHCR.

During the workshop, pupils and their teachers had the chance to participate in a set of interactive sessions and provide constructive ideas for solutions to ease the plight of the forcibly displaced. Additionally, local girls and boys had an opportunity to interact with their peers from the refugee population and discuss together various topics ranging from different customs and food, via challenges in learning new language, to overall integration in a new community. For most of them, this was the first possibility to meet and speak with displaced persons.

In her opening remarks at the beginning of the workshop, the representative of the Ministry of Education once again emphasized the determination of the Republic of Serbia to provide all necessary help to those in need, as well as to support initiatives conducted by educational institutions and youth organizations in this regard.

The next phase of the project “In their Sneakers” has been envisaged as being devoted to the implementation of small-scale projects which the participating schools will develop among their local communities. UNHCR will select the most creative ones and those with the biggest potential impact and the winners will be announced in the closing ceremony planned for the year’s end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.