Bridging languages and memories to foster multiple identities: "Never leave your backpack behind!"

About the project

BACKPACK ID is an innovative intervention for promoting the inclusion of refugee children at school in 4 European countries (Greece and Italy, Germany and Sweden), which are met with acute and very diverse challenges by the ongoing refugee crisis. Informed by these differences, the present approach on social inclusion advances a common account of social inclusion challenges; it sees the social inclusion of refugee children as a function of addressing the needs and perspectives of those children and their families, and local communities and stakeholders, while affirming common European values.

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Backpack ID using a bottom-up participatory method produced the following outputs in order to address social inclusion interpersonal and intergroup understanding in the school environment.

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Who we are

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I am Haya. I was born in Damascus, Syria, on 31 July 2006. I have two sisters and one brother. When I was 4 or 5, I went to day care and then because of the war starting, we had to move. We moved to the inner centre of Damascus and lived in a big house with my two aunts, their daughters and sons as well as my uncle, his wife and children and my nan. Even though the house was big, there was not enough space for all of us. After a few months, my nan died and my aunt and her family moved to Egypt. At this time, my father was in Spain, but because he couldn’t find any work there, he also moved to Egypt. After another month or so, we also moved to Egypt. We stayed in a house of one of his friends for a few weeks. After that we moved into a flat. I went to school, my siblings also, my father was working and my mother managed the household. After a year and a half, my father moved to Spain again because he wasn’t satisfied with his work. During this time, my sisters and my mother worked. After a while my sisters stopped working as they had to prepare for their exams. My father sent us money every month. My sister got married and moved to her husband’s home country, Libya. A year later my other sister got married but she stayed in Egypt. After some time, my father moved to Berlin. There he made friends and learnt German. And then we also came to Berlin. On the one hand, I was happy to finally see my father again after 2 years, but I was sad that I had to leave my friends and sister behind. Initially, for the first 20 days we stayed at the flat of a friend of my father’s and then we moved to a hotel. We only had a very small room with 4 beds, four chairs, a small table, a small television, a two-door wardrobe, a kitchen and a small bathroom. The room was too small but better than nothing. I made new friends again, a few of them even went to my school. For five months I went to the welcoming class, but then I went to a regular class, that was grade 5. That lasted for a full year, but then we found this flat and I had to move school again. I had been happy at that school, I had friends and the teachers were nice also. This school I like also, the teachers are very nice as well.