During 2019 CHRCR and UNHCR worked together on Increasing the Awareness and Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers Among Local Communities project.
In the very beginning three faculties were chosen to participate in the project: The Faculty of Dramatic Arts and Faculty of Fine Arts from the University of St. Cyril and Methodius and the Faculty of Arts, department of Music, from University of Tetova. The faculties appointed four professors in total to serve the role of mentors within the project. The mentors choose students-coordinators (two per each faculty). Two trainings were held at the very beginning of the project. First, the mentors and the students’ coordinators participated in a three-day awareness raising training. The participants were sensitized about the refugees, their situation, their rights and plights as well as their perseverance and determination to survive and integrate in the new societies. Soon after the first training, new one-day training was organized with additional students from each faculty chosen by the mentors and the students-coordinators. The new training was focused on the most powerful content from the previous training. The trainings served the purpose of motivating the participants for taking actions, thus by the end of the trainings all faculties came-up with draft ideas about art products that can raise the awareness of the general public about the refugees.
The trainings were very successful in terms of getting the students to better know the refugees and their situation. Their awareness about the refugees was raised which helped them in the creative process of delivering products who depicted the reality of the refugees.
Awareness raising products – were created in two phases. In the first phase, from mid-May to mid-June, through a series of meetings the students created the following products:
– Faculty of Arts – Department of Music, University of Tetovo: created four musical pieces inspired by the cultures of some of the countries of origin of the refugees.
– Faculty of Drama, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje: created 7 monologues inspired by the refugees` plights, as well as their strength to cope with the challenges, to overcome the traumas, and their successful integration in the host countries.
– Faculty of Art, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje: created more than 20 designs with motives from the refugees` situation. Three of these designs were printed on t-shirts.
In the second phase, from mid-September till mid-October the students created new products in order to better convey the message about the refugees to the general public. The following products were prepared by the students in this phase:
– Faculty of Arts – Department of Music, University of Tetovo: prepared five musical pieces of which four completely new with motives from traditional and well known melodies from the countries of origin of the refugees.
– Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje: the already prepared monologues inspired by the refugees` plights, as well as their strength to cope with the challenges, to overcome the traumas, and their successful integration in the host countries where slightly modified under the guidance of a director specially hired to create a performance in which all the pieces are in interaction.
– Faculty of Fine Arts, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje: in addition to already existing materials, the students prepared some additional designs ending up with selection of seven new or modified designs that were printed in t-shirts, handbags and small magnets.
There were also activities for increasing the awareness of the general public through awareness raising public events:
Organizing awareness raising public events– Six events in total were organized during the project. Three events were organized for the broader audience, and the other three for university students. The first event was dedicated to The World Refugee Day, and it was organized on 20.06. at Cinema “Kultura” through multimedia presentation consisted of the products of the students created in the first phase. The other five events were organized during October and November. Three of these events were held in the Faculties from where the students engaged in the project came from and were dedicated mainly to the students and staff from these faculties. The other two events where organized in the cities of Gostivar and Kumanovo dedicated to more general public. The performances in all events were directed by Zoja Buzalkova, well known director from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. The performances were consisted of fragments from the monologues and musical pieces interwoven altogether in one joint multimedia presentation. In addition, in each event drawings of the students from the Faculty of fine arts were exhibited along with products (t-shirts and shoulder bags) designed with these drawings. In all events well known artists were engaged as guest speakers.