Over the last year more than a million refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe. A further three million are expected to arrive in 2016. The unprecedented number of refugees and migrants travelling to the continent undoubtedly represents one of the biggest challenges facing Europe today, not only in terms of their immediate reception, but also in terms of their longer-term inclusion in society. This situation raises serious questions about our commitment to humanitarian values.
A lot has been said and written about the refugees. Still, today refugees are millions of anonymous people. It’s as though the word refugee had wiped out all their identity and previous life. Being a refugee is a status, not an identity. The aim of the website is to connect the refugees to the local population.
By sharing stories. Humans connect with humans wherever they are from when stories get personal, intimate. After all, we’re all just humans. Local residents are given the possibility to meet the refugees, contact them by mail, open their world to them, help them to integrate, find work, a place to stay and support them to write a new story in a new country. Amazing things happen when people connect.
We are standing for an open, multi-layered and diversified society. I’m not a refugee fights for social progress and cohesion by re-humanizing the discussions about “refugees”, allowing refugees to speak for themselves, fighting the growing populism, fears, stereotypes and prejudices, connecting residents and refugees (via the email-connect button at the end of each portrait) and empowering citizens to drive social inclusion via civil engagement.
In Luxembourg there has been a strong solidarity from some of the local population to welcome the refugees that have been taken in. Now we need to integrate the refugees and that requires more than offering clothes or donating money to charities. In our rich countries, people are used to solve their “issues” by spending money. But this attitude will not be enough for a solid, healthy integration on long term. We Europeans will have to get out of our comfort zone and personally connect to the refugees.
The way we deal with the integration of refugees should be considered as a tipping point in our rich societies: the successful integration (inclusion!) we need can’t be achieved only by the state and public/private charities. On the contrary: it requires individuals to take responsibility!
We believe new technologies and media have a role to play in that process. This project aims to promote awareness and understanding of refugees by showing them in a different, a personal light. We think people power is key to tacle many social and environmental issues. We hope locals will contact and meet the refugees.
Concept, coordination & interviews: Frédérique Buck
Corporate Identity & webdesign: Vitali Poluzhnikov, Caio Andrade, Mitsuko Sato, Diedrik Persson, Mike Wittrup & Daniel Rorbaek (www.iamnotarefugee.com)
Hosting: Guillaume Rischard
Photography: Sven Becker – http://svenbecker.lu and Mike Zenari – mikezenari.com.
Financial support: Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte (call for projects mateneen)
Mediapartner: Maison Moderne / maisonmoderne.lu