“Get Together with Refugees from all backgrounds”

On October 22, a seminar titled “Get Together” was held in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, co-hosted by IPYG Switzerland and House of Culture, which is an institution of the Cantonal Social Welfare Office of Schaffhausen. Since September last year, IPYG has been conducting seminars with Switzerland’s “House of Culture” for peaceful co-existence between Swiss locals and refugees, protection of human rights of refugees, and cooperation in establishing a sustainable future foundation for refugees. The employees of the House of Culture, local residents, and refugees living in Switzerland have participated in these events. This time, refugees from nine different countries attended the event, and many Ukrainian refugees participated.

According to the UNHCR, as of May 2022, the number of displaced people around the world increased to more than 100 million. In particular, more than 7.78 million Ukrainian refugees (over 14.85 million cumulative) are counted due to the war between Ukraine and Russia. Switzerland took in more than 66,000 Ukrainian refugees.

The IPYG Switzerland branch said, “In order to build mutual understanding among refugees from different ethnicities as well as Swiss locals we organised a cultural exchange, to show how we all have the desire for peace and the hope to end all wars โ€“ including the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible.โ€

Refugees prepared and shared their own traditional food and had time to get to know each other through the cultural exchange. As they shared their stories with each other, the Ukrainian refugees shared the sadness of losing their loved ones in their escape from the war. There was also time where the Swiss locals and refugees shared about peaceful coexistence under the theme of ‘respect and understanding of diversity,’ which is one of the core topics of the HWPL Peace Education.

A refugee participant from Afghanistan said, “I really enjoyed the intercultural exchange and am thankful for the organisation of the event. I hope Afghanistan can become a multicultural country where everyone is welcome. We are all the same, if we respect each other no matter our differences, peace is possible. I am looking forward to attend other events organized by IPYG.โ€

In addition, a Ukrainian refugee participant said, “The atmosphere was comfortable and enjoyable, so we could have a sincere conversation. Especially, hearing about HWPLโ€™s peace education was really good. I think peace is urgently needed because we are currently suffering from the pain of war. I want to become a member of IPYG and cooperate more.”

The IPYG Switzerland branch is planning to hold refugee events in November to promote multicultural exchanges and Christmas events for refugees in December.