Universal Citizen Team

This International group will travel along the so called “Balkan Route”, what used to be the so called ‘humanitarian corridor’ for people arriving to Greece to seek refuge in the European Union


Our reason for this Journey?

~ To increase the links between civil society and people who live in refugee camps, as to reduce the growing isolation we are experiencing,
~ We will collect stories of the Balkan Route,
~ To empower people living in refugee camps – especially those who are filling in social roles among their peers on a voluntary and autonomous basis – through the recognition and promotion of their work,
~ Connecting people, building solidarity networks and supporting existing solidarity networks,
~ Preparing a group of experts with a good knowledge and a deep background understanding of the refugee issue, so that they can create follow up projects based on experience and insight.

The team

Yousra

Yousra
“I am a traveler and a learner. I have been volunteering in several countries for years now, focusing specially in disadvantaged communities. My father was Syrian and that is one of the many reasons why I am looking forward to the Route: I will never be able to see the Syria he told me about but I do really want to help the Syrians (and others) find a place where they can feel home again.”

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Mustafa

Mustafa
“I am the co- founder of refugees got talent . Originally from Iraq , I studied English at the university of Mosul . I arrived as an asylum seeker in Belgium in 29/7/2015 . Refugees got talent let artists practice their art in a fully -equipped workspace , offers a platform for artists to display their work and creates a supportive community that encourages the artists to integrate in the Belgian art network.”

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Deborah

Deborah
“As an EVS, I am currently involved in the work of the Greek Forum of Refugees, in Athens. Defending human rights and being an activist are definitely my way. Since I’m here, I have been able to enhance my understanding of what we call the ‘refugee crisis’. For me, participating in the Route to Connect is an amazing opportunity to have more knowledge about the intricate situation of the persons seeking international protection in Europe today.”

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Sabine

Sabine
“I am a clown and storyteller. I have been working with refugees and disadvantaged communities for over 10 years using art as a vehicle for psycho-social support. I believe in the power of stories and in the power of laughter and play and super excited that we will have them all during the Route to Connect project.”

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Suvi

Suvi
“Iam currently carrying out an EVS project in the International Secretariat of Service Civil International in Antwerp, Belgium. I coordinate the Building Bridges Campaign, which aims to raise awareness on the issues facing those seeking refuge and asylum. I have several years of experience volunteering with immigrant children in Finland. I look forward to learning more and face new challenges during A Route To Connect project.”

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Claudia

Claudia
“I am currently volunteering at Service Civil International Switzerland’s office for my EVS project. Before joining SCI world, I was already interested in the issue of migration and refugees, and when I came to Switzerland I got involved in SCI’s Building Bridges campaign. But there is so much more to learn and do, so I can’t wait for the A Route to Connect project to begin!”

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Marta

Marta
“I’m a people stories’ lover, an enthusiastic about new cultures and a very curious person who has always believed communication has a strong power for change through information and awareness.. For the past 2 years I have been envolved in the refugees topic while working with a Spanish NGO responsible for rescue tasks in Lesvos and in the Mediterranean. I strongly defend that all of us are people, no matter where we were born and the injustices that came along, and that no ones deserves to struggle. With the Route to Connect project I hope we will be able to listen to the real stories of real people, that will help us to raise awareness on the situation, and to ease the path of those that we will encounter on the way.”

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Katri

Katri
“I study Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Helsinki. Human rights, migration and peace work are of great interest to me, and I am active in different peace organisations. With Service Civil International I have worked with refugees on volunteer work camps and in different events and projects. I have also organised regular activities for refugee children in a reception centre. On the Route to Connect project I am hoping to gain a deeper understanding on the hardships refugees face on the borders of Europe and to gain skills that I could apply in my organisation work at home.”

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Ahmed

Ahmed
” Originally from Iraq , I studied English at the university of Mosul . I arrived as an asylum seeker in Belgium in 29/7/2015 . I am co founder of Refugees got Talent. We provide a community and a workspace for artists who happen to be either refugees or asylum seekers in a foreign country.”

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Lea

Lea
“I was given the name Lea- and before defining myself as something specific, I would say that I am a human, and therefor a being whose existence is intertwisted with the people and nature around through the striving for a truthful life.  I’ve started to work with people seeking for refuge through a theatre project in my hometown in germany, and since then have continued to be involved in volunteering with people who have been forced to flee their homes. I like to observe and transform the world around me through all kind of media and arts, using them as a tool to tell stories. At the moment, I am volunteering in GAIA Kosovo, an environmental peace organization and Kosovo’s SCI branch, working with children in an alternative educational space and supporting work in the organization.”

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Sonja

Sonja
“My name is Sonja, coming from Serbia, and im one of the trainers of a ,,Route to connect” project. I started doing my volunteer work 2 years ago in a Serbian SCI branch called (shortly) VCV. I was doing a lot of work with kids in schools, with refugees on the field, and other things. Right now, besides my volunteer work in Volunteer Centre Vojvodina and this project, Im working for another NGO in official refugee camps in Serbia.”

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Jelena

Jelena
“I’m just starting volunteering and I hope that Route to Connect will be the first of my many future similar projects. I’m a Balkan child myself so this project is personal and close to my heart in many ways. I can’t wait to get started!”

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Clay

Clay
“As founder of the Emergency Circus and member of Clowns Without Borders and the Gesundheit Institute I have visited refugees in 22 countries around the world. I’ve given keynote speeches on the importance of clowning in difficult situations at the Counterplay conference  in Denmark, the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning at the University of Warwick, and at countless schools across the US. I’ve seen first hand the positive power of spreading joy in difficult places and sharing the stories that bring us together as humans.”

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Ilaria

Ilaria
“Passionate about languages and anthropology, I am currently working in a project for asylum seekers in Italy. Modern nomad recently I discovered the sedentarism, but I am still wondering If I can adapt to it.”

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Carmen

Carmen
“I have only a certainty in the life: nothing is certain. Everything can always change, and we have always the power to make all better. I used to work as a journalist and I used to read all the news from the world until the moment I decided to go to see the reality by my eyes. Then, I literally discovered the World and I’ve made a choice: I need not just to tell what I see but also I need to do what I can. I’m currently an EVS volunteer in Thessaloniki, Greece, in a NGO called United Societies of Balkans

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Nerina

Nerina
“I spent six months in Turkey last year, researching about migration routes and traveling along the South-western coast. Currently I am working in a social promotion association that works with audio and radio. We organize auto-biographic workshops for migrants in which we use audio as a story-telling instrument. I am looking forward to starting this new journey”

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Aleksandra

Aleksandra
“I am and activist that stumbled upon humanitarian work in 2015 with the influx of refugees in need of aid and services through the Balkans. During the peak of the crisis, I organized volunteers and allocated aid, and found creative ways to support the refugees in their movement as well communicate and coordinate with fellow volunteers and organizations providing aid on different points on the route.”

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Yahu

Yahu
“I have spend quite some time at the borders.  I never forgot one evening at a Serbian border crossing.  I had spend over 48 hours running trough the mud fields, talking to thousands of people, a river of people fleeing North as if some monster in the middle East scared the life out of everyone. Those days they was all suffering, cold, wet, panicking, helpless,… While resting on some border post and observing the apocalytical scenery passed a father with his daughter, 4 year old something, both one bag with all their belongings.  They where smiling, he was singing a song.
I study Yoga and medicine and I am and artist and believe in the power of stories

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route

We would like to thank all the people involved in this project behind the scenes, and everyone who showed interest to support us in this work.

We would like to thank especially Sara Turra and her team for reaching out to volunteers and people seeking refuge stuck at the borders and creating these opportunities to empower our re-actions to injustice. May human values always win. Peace

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