Inspiring learning for a fairer future

ChangeMakers visit Lampedusa

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 12:33

At the end of September this year, young people from our Start The Change Project 'ChangeMakers' groups, travelled to Lampedusa to meet with other young people from across Europe to share ideas, experiences and perspectives on migration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or 'Global Goals'. The trip coincided with the anniversary of the tragic death of 368 people in 2013. In search of a better future for themselves and their families, they died just off the coast of the small Italian island when the ship carrying them sank.

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Our #StartTheChangeProject aims to empower educators and young people, particularly encouraging the latter to "explore the reality in which they live [and] to reflect on the relationship between migration and global inequality as well as to actively participate in starting the change and supporting sustainable development."

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Part of this has involved the formation of #ChangeMakers group which bring young people together to consider what they could do to help challenge dominant narratives around migration and to change perspectives based on truth and an increased engagement between individuals and communities. One example is the Fèis Rois group's recent performances that brought together stories of migration across the centuries, making the connections between those who left Scotland for Nova Scotia after the brutal Highland Clearances and those fleeing violence and oppresion today.

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Young people from the Fèis Rois, Elgin Youth Cafe and Inverness High School ChangeMakers groups travelled to Lampedusa with our Global Youth Officer, Lindsay Dunbar, and met with their peers from the project's other partners, which in total includes 15 partners from 12 European countries. Much as we did with staff at our project seminar back in October 2018, they shared ideas about their ChangeMakers group's plans and activities, as well as hearing local perspectives from people who'd survived the journey across the Mediterranean. They also took part in the march of solidarity on October 3rd and Mitch from Fèis Rois piped as they marched along the clifftops.

They also witnessed the environmental impacts of other human actions, with a visit to the Lampedusa Turtle Group/Turtle Rescue.

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The ChangeMakers have now returned to their groups in Scotland and we'll be sharing how the trip has impacted them and the work their groups are doing over the coming months.


Many of those who died in 2013 were fleeing Eritrea - here's an article from Amnesty International on why people have fled the country and why they are, and have been, unsafe.

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Snapshots From the Borders (also a DEAR funded project, like Start The Change itself) started a petition to make the 3rd of October 'The European Day of Memory and Welcome' which you may like to sign. It's part of the #NoMoreBricksInTheWall campaign. Here's how they've explained the need for the day of memory:

"From October 3, 2013 to today, 17,900 migrants and refugees have died or are missing in the Mediterranean Sea. While 2016 was the most lethal year, with 5,096 people who lost their lives in a desperate attempt to find salvation in Europe. In 2018 one out of every 18 people who crossed the Mediterranean heading to Europe lost his/her live: an unacceptable human cost and an unacceptable human statistic.

The 3rd of October will be a day to commemorate and reflect on these human losses; a day where wrong policies confront our individual and European values which should always stand higher. A day to remember the past, to correct the present and to envision our European future of solidarity and respect of all human lives."

You can see all posts across the Start The Change Project and all it's partners here on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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