Where were you born? How did that shape you as to who you are today?

How to start a conversation on migration?

We started a 7-day course on strengths-based facilitation of refugee groups in the Netherlands by letting participants (some of them with migration/flight history, and some Dutch) ask each other the following questions:

- Where were you born? Where were your parents born?

- How did that shape you as a person? 

- Which strengths did you build? (either as a result of migration, or as a result of flight, or as a result of being born and raised in the Netherlands)

People ask these questions to each other in pairs.

Each person speaks 3 minutes, the other one listens and you stick to the topic.

We repeated this three times.

It brought up thought-provoking conversations, realisations, and personal sharing, and hence a great (to the heart of the matter) start of our 6-months learning journey.

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Comment by khorchi laurie on February 8, 2019 at 7:05pm

Thank you Birgitta for sharing this very nice tool! 

I have added it in the Constellation tools box here

Let me know if you have more to share with the network!

Comment by khorchi laurie on February 8, 2019 at 7:05pm

Thank you Birgitta for sharing this very nice tool! 

I have added it in the Constellation tools box here

Let me know if you have more to share with the network!

Comment by khorchi laurie on February 8, 2019 at 7:05pm

Thank you Birgitta for sharing this very nice tool! 

I have added it in the Constellation tools box here

Let me know if you have more to share with the network!

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on March 12, 2018 at 3:30pm

Good point, Noemi. Racism, gender inequality etc in the Netherlands are quickly disappearing 'under the rug' as we say, as we tend to tell ourselves (and fall asleep with that) 'all is well here in this small cozy country'....

Comment by Marie Lamboray on March 12, 2018 at 3:09pm

Traduction:

Comment lancer une conversation sur la migration ?

Nous avons commencé un cours de 7 jours sur la facilitation basée sur les forces des groupes de réfugiés aux Pays-Bas en laissant les participants (certains d'entre eux ayant des antécédents de migration/fuite et quelques Hollandais d’origine) se poser les questions suivantes par paires :

- Où êtes-vous né(e) ? Où vos parents sont-ils nés ?

- Comment cela vous a-t-il façonné(e) en tant que personne ?

- Quelles forces avez-vous développé ? (Soit à la suite d'une migration, soit à la suite d'une fuite, soit à la suite de la naissance et de l'éducation aux Pays-Bas)

Chaque personne parle 3 minutes, l'autre écoute et chacun s’en tient au sujet.

Nous avons répété cela trois fois.

Cela a suscité des conversations, des prises de conscience et des échanges personnels stimulants, et donc un excellent début de notre parcours d'apprentissage de 6 mois.

Nous avons d'abord laissé chacun, individuellement, réfléchir pendant quelques minutes aux conversations qu'il ou elle avait eues, et nous les avons invité(e)s à prendre quelques notes sur les pensées ou les sentiments qui ont découlé de ces trois conversations. Non seulement pour leur apprentissage personnel, mais aussi pour réfléchir à ce que cela signifierait de poser ces mêmes questions dans les groupes qu'ils facilitent.

Après quelques minutes de silence, une personne a partagé qu'il ne lui était jamais venu à l'esprit que grandir dans un contexte de liberté et de paix avait eu un impact si positif sur sa façon de grandir.

Il me semble que ces questions peuvent provoquer des conversations puissantes lorsque certains d'entre nous prennent conscience de leur privilège de grandir dans un contexte (1) de stabilité politique, (2) de liberté de parole et d'expression, (3) en l’absence de guerre , (4) dans un pays riche.

Comme nous faisions cet exercice dès le début du cours, nous ne voulions pas commencer par un échange plénier long ou trop intense. Nous avons choisi pour le silence et le temps de la réflexion intérieure après ces conversations éventuellement intenses et ‒ pour certaines personnes ‒ un sujet sensible.

Je pense que le principal effet de cet exercice a été d'illustrer l'essence de notre cours (quant au contenu et à la manière de travailler):

- écouter un autre être humain (quels que soient les rôles, les postes, etc.)

- noter les forces, parler de forces

- reconnaître nos différences et nos similitudes

- créer un espace sûr pour raconter des histoires personnelles

etc.

Traduit avec l'aide de Google translate

Comment by Noemi Bertomeu on March 12, 2018 at 3:04pm

Looks like an amazing start with awareness-raising and reflection. 

Just as a thought for the future follow-up, I am thinking wether the polarity :

- Growing up within a context of freedom and peace, political stability, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, no war, etc. 

- Growing in a context without freedom, without stability, war, etc.

Could be tricky, when associating the first to the Dutch background, and the second to non-Dutch background. 

How to point then to the experience of lack of freedom of expression in The Netherlands? Are we taking it for granted? or what does it mean political stability exactly?

I consider sometimes  difficult in The Netherlands to relate us human beings with our challenges as  humanity, when talking to Dutch people for which the challenge is considered solved. Like the challenge of freedom of expression.

As an example, of how difficult is to raise that the challenge is still on, last week an action has been done in some newspapers headquarters in The Netherlands (Hilversum) aiming to bring awarennes on how few women's experts are in media in contrast with men, so that women are underrepresented. What is the price for freedom and stability in The Netherlands? Which is the common dream behind the supposed political stability, and how is that affecting other countries, and in which ways?

Are we able to look at the interconnections with those polarities? And therefore not over identifying migration with a background of lack of freedom of expression or war...so that also we can see the collective strengths related with a lot of inspiring collective responses and even laws and policies that are built in countries were migrants to The Netherlands are coming from. 

 

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on March 10, 2018 at 11:05pm

And I'd like to add: I think the main effect of this exercise was to illustrate the essence of our course (as to content and way of working):

- listening to another human being (no matter roles, positions etc.)

- noticing strengths, talking about strenghts

- acknowledging our differences and similarities

- creating a safe space for personal story telling

etc. 

Maybe Marlou or someone else from the group feels like adding something?

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on March 10, 2018 at 10:53pm

Hi Rituu,

We first let everyone, individually, reflect for a couple of minutes on the conversations they had had, and invited them to make a few notes on what thoughts or feelings had come up from having these three conversations. Not only for their personal learning, but also to reflect on how it would be to ask these very same questions in their own groups that they facilitate.

After a few minutes silence one person shared that it had never dawned to her that growing up within a context of freedom and peace had had such a positive impact on the way she grew up. 

It seems to me that these questions can bring about powerful conversations as some of us become aware of their priviledge of growing up within a context of (1) political stability, (2) freedom of speech and freedom of expression, (3) no war, (4) an affluent country.

As we did this exercise right at the start of the 3-day course, we didn't want to start with a long or too intense plenary exchange.  We chose for the silence and time for inner reflection after these possibly intense conversations and -- for some people -- a sensitive topic.

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on March 10, 2018 at 10:24pm

Powerful questions Birgitta! how did you bring together the learning after the three rounds? Thanks

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