The Human Library “Community, Communication, Common Space” 14 September, Tsar Simeonova Gradina, Plovdiv

During our life we often face stereotypes, injustice and prejudices.We are asking ourselves: “Why some live in abudance while others count the coins in their pockets? Why some enjoy freedom while others even don’t have a passport?” But as volunteers we do not only ask questions, we want to do something about it: act and make people aware. This is why we decided to make migration a main topic of the Human Library ” Community, Communication, Common Space” , that our organisation CVS-Bulgaria and UNHCR Bulgaria held on 14 September in Plovdiv during the Night of the Museums. The Human Library was complimented by UNHCR’s interactive exhibition “Identity” , featuring some of the books’ stories.

“Human Library” methodology was not chosen by chance. In our case every refugee became a “book” telling their story to a reader from the local community for 15-20 minutes. Any person passing by in the park could be a “reader” if they were instrested and could spare some time.
We had a total of 10 books, which were10 stories filled with life hardships during war and civil outbreks one one hand. On the other, each book was talking about new beginnings and possitive experiences finding a new home in Bulgaria.
The power of the method is to be in the moment, diving into a story which could not be repeated again with the same sencereness and passion.
There is a belief in the local society that refugees are an asocial group of people, who do not want to be integrated and do not contribute to the host country. Thanks to Human Library “Community, Communication, Common Space” the citizens and guests of Plovdiv(the Capital of Culture 2019) could face the challenges that refugees encounter and understand better their emotions and break different stereotypes. They met people who want to belong, to love and be loved, to work, study and thus be a valuable member of the society.

A “book” about Kurdistan, told by Keihan and Farasat
A Pocketful of Dreams, told by Peter

The readers were firstly intrugued by the exhibition and then timidly approached the librarian desk to subscribe for “reading” a book. Each person has a limit of four books to read so in this way we could reach more people. We also managed to read some books. It was really useful experience since we are starting now to dig deeper into the topic of forced migration. There was no unhappy reader, from what we saw in their eyes, or from the conversations and evaluation forms we had later, we got the feeling that everyone was very happy with the event. We especially remember the comment of one girl “You are doing very valuable work. Thank you”.
This event was very significant for the books as well. They were able to share their worries, get support and empathy, as well as a feeling of belonging, which is very important for the refugees. Our books were very glad to meet interested people in their stories and spend some time with locals. We, as a team of organisers also contributed to their positive experiences, travelling and spending some free time together. We, the volunteers believe we have found some new friends among the books we have recruitred for this event.

Am Djad is a Syrian musician who found his new home in Bulgaria

“Reading” such kind of books helps us recognize the value of positive attitude in our life. We only need to support each other in our community and communicate learning more about each other. We understood, that there are no issues that can’t be solved, and we remembered that the main rule of happy life is to meet all that is ment to come with a smile, believing in the good outcome.

Volunteering Circles project / 2018-2-BG01-KA125-048262/ is co-financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union

 Posted by Kathy at 14:12 Volunteer activities

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