The cultural workshops, part of the EU funded project "WEMIN: Migrant Women Empowerment and Integration”, were successfully implemented by the “Olympic Training & Consulting Ltd” (partner organization), supported by “HOU-DAISSy Research Group” (Coordinator). In particular, two artistic workshops were organized, concerning the creation of decorative and utility objects made from clay and fabric (31.10.-29.11.2019, Athens).
The workshops took place in suitable and well equipped premises in Athens city centre, was easily accessed by both native women and migrant / refugee women (MRW). In each workshop that lasted up to 24hours, took part women from Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Congo, Syria and Greece, who created lovely artistic and everyday objects like tablecloths, pillows, blankets, hair ribbons, lamps, bowls and jewelry.
Besides, most of the MRW who experienced the cultural workshops, had also participated in other WEMIN project activities, such as the Greek language courses and the empowerment and mentoring sessions. In the context of the cultural workshops’ implementation, they had the opportunity to practice the recently learned Greek vocabulary and test their language competences on the basis of common creativity, exchange and sharing of memories and experiences between women of different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
The interaction between women was true and vivid. During the meetings they had the opportunity to share information and get familiarized with customs, practices and perceptions different from their own, but also similar in many ways and built on common grounds. Apart from its overall objective, that is the coming together and interaction of MRW and native women, the workshops succeeded in consisting for migrant and refugee women a short and joyful release and refuge from a difficult everyday reality.
The handmade objects created in the workshops were presented at a special exhibition held in parallel and in the same venue that the d international closing conference of the WEMIN project was held in Athens (8 & 9 December 2019). The “Olympic Training & Consulting Ltd” organized the exhibition in collaboration with the women who took part in the cultural workshops. Moreover, migrant and refugee women had the opportunity to attend the conference presentations and discussions while many of them took active part in one of the conference’s interesting workshops titled "Intercultural Breakfast as an Integration tool". . After the international conference and the exhibition were finished, the handmade objects were shared to the women who had created them.
While the WEMIN project is coming to an end, the women who participated in all the project’s actions have already expressed their wish for the project to continue, underlying the importance of this kind of projects in their integration in the host society.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (776211-ΑΜIF-2016-AG-INTE) and includes a transnational partnership in 8 EU Member States (Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany and Sweden). In Greece, it is implemented in Athens by the DAISSy Research Group of Hellenic Open University (Coordinator) and Olympic Training & Consulting Ltd (partner).