#RefugeesMigrants. At work for a change of pace: the title

Date 14.11.2016
AVSI Costa D Avorio 2016 By Marco Garofalo 48

AVSI's new Tents Campaign has a title that recalls and extends the subject of the previous year, “Refugees and us. All on the same road”, which defined over a thousand events that took place in Italy, as well as in Switzerland, Spain, United States, Peru, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Argentina, Austria, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Russia, Paris and London.

The guiding idea was: by putting ourselves in the shoes of those who are forced to flee their homes because of hunger, war or persecution, we can move closer to understanding their real needs and help through proper projects in countries of origin as well as in countries of transit and destination. We stay on this road, already in action. Because the issue of forced migration is a tangible sign of the epochal change we are living through that concerns all of us. Even this year's title carries a message in each word.

“RefugeesMigrants”. The hashtag is the same as the one the United Nations and the European Union use in their work, in which AVSI participates, on an issue that concerns our society and that has been fully incorporated into the agenda of the international community. This hashtag highlights the difference between refugees and migrants. We are aware of it but we remain faithful to our mission: to help everyone without distinction and to promote development starting from the needs of those who are in trouble now.

At work. This is an invitation, an expression that crosses our daily life, another way of saying to everyone “Let's all roll up our sleeves”, each of us within our fields of competence. But at the same time it introduces a specific theme – work – one of the cornerstones of our commitment in the thirty countries where we are present. From Sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East, from our own cities to Latin America, AVSI is committed to projects that promote work in order to ignite development and facilitate the restitution of the dignity and freedom of each person. To create proper working conditions, AVSI promotes schools and holistic education of the person, from preschool to adulthood and operates in the health sector as well because people have to be healthy in order to work.

For a change of pace. Our utmost ideal is to promote development in poor countries in constant emergency so that migration can be a free choice and not a life-saving obligation, and so that those who have already migrated may be able to return home. But this image of a change of pace seeks to also provoke people in wealthier countries who are affected by migration. Today's reality seems to be more advanced than what we can grasp and is asking us to change the way we think of it, the way we look at it. This is why our new Tents campaign is a double-edged sword: it aims to creatively support the projects detailed in this issue, but at the same time, to undertake a new, revolutionary “cultural” work. Not an intellectual work, but one that begins with physical action. Hands at work