When my dear friend and colleague Sylvi told me about her plans for the holidays I was impressed by how different they were to those of other people I know. They included volunteering at an international level to promote freedom of movement for all and integration on a local level through the organization of No Borders Festival in Rome. Soon after our first conversation I had decided to join the project full of excitement. It was great to know that activists from different countries had the opportunity to meet and work together to improve the world we live in as much as it can be done in such a short project. Once we met at Casale in Rome, we found ourselves in a small community centre which had managed to create an extremely friendly atmosphere which allowed
immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, the local community and local and international activists to work together and get to know each other with a common aim: to overcome the barriers we found between us mirroring the big borders established in the world. It made a big difference the care taken to make sure participants had different backgrounds in spite of the obvious challenges this would bring to us (or precisely because of them!). Being a teacher in an international college which aims to build a united world (www.uwc.org), I was particularly impressed with the outstanding work
done by an organization based at Casale: Laboratorio 53. My students and I work with refugees and asylum seekers in Wales where our college is located. I saw how Laboratorio 53 had found a team of activists which had been able to find solutions to difficulties we have experienced in Wales since the beginning, and these activities and initiatives were unexpected and revealing to me. The next step is to adapt those solutions to the local context in Wales. I am glad to say that Laboratorio 53 has already offered me support and advice to achieve this, showing awareness of the potential a project like No Borders Festival has on an international level, as many youngsters will benefit indirectly from their good work and still have a long life in front of them to apply their new skills
and knowledge on this issue. It was rewarding to see how seriously education was taken by Casale where volunteers as young as 16 years old were accepted to be part of the team. This meant that an extra effort had to be made in order to guide these youngsters who had become part of our community of international volunteers. To end this piece of writing, I would like to congratulate the leaders for the excellent time management they had, which allowed us to spend time together as well!
This article has been written by Nidal, a volunteer from Wales who had participate at the No Border Camp, which have take place in Rome from the 12th to the 21th of June 2017.
Want to have your own workcamp experience? There are plenty of short term voluntary projects you can still join, just check our workcamps database!