First public event in Croatia

Refugee Weeks – 15th until 27th June 2020

After certain amount of time spent in researching different communities in Croatia, we were ready to organise the first Bridges public event in Croatia: Refugee Weeks. World Refugee Day is widely celebrated on the 20th of June and our public event was organised to mark this day. This event was organised in partnership with civil society organisations that are members of unformal network “Coordination for integration”.

Since, in Croatia – the integration process is aimed to become decentralised, we organised the Refugee Weeks that lasted for two weeks and have included communities all around Croatia. That were: Karlovac, Sisak, Kutina, Slavonski Brod, Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Kuterevo i Ježevo. The event was organised just after Croatian society has lived through a lockdown caused due to Covid-19 pandemic, so most of events were organised online; but some were held live.

In Zagreb, CPS has gathered people in smaller groups within local communities where people could hear direct experience of integration process. Aiming at the two-way process of integration – we had some gathering coordinated by refugees, while others by locals. That were: presentation of African music tradition with music performance (by Bongo), presentation of westafrican drumming (by Abi), presentation of Pakistan cousine (by Shazad), presentation of integration policy (by Marijana) and practice (by Dag). As the gathering were so small, we connected them with the process of making a video campaign #welivehere (that is a part of the project New Neighbours) – where we brought the events closer to the people sitting at home. This way we moved the project from the streets to the monitor. The campaign included stories of refugees that are living in Croatia and have found their places within the community. In short videos, five refugees (Shazad, Melike, Juhana, Yazdan and Bongo) talk about what their life in Croatia looks like, what they do and what is important to them, and show that Croatia is a place where we all live together.

Videos were presented through social media, but were also shown on Croatian National Television. This has brought the stories of refugees closer to the Croatian population – bridges were build from one home to another. CPS representative and a person included in the project talked about the Refugees week, the project and the personal experience.