Interview of Konstantinos Georgiou from Cyprus after the Training Course "Welcome Friends" in Torremolinos.
Can you give us your opinion about the project "Welcome friends"?
First of all, the topic of this program was exciting as it helped me discover and strengthen my knowledge on the issue of immigration. I applied my knowledge to the issue after I understood better how immigrants themselves and the host countries are affected by the immigration issue. This program helped me learn the different methods used by different countries for the smooth settlement of immigrants in a foreign country while additionally, I was able to understand how young people in these countries act voluntarily to protect these vulnerable people. The people in charge of the program were excellent, very helpful in everything we needed; I felt that they were close to us throughout the program, which made me feel very comfortable and pleasant. In addition, the hotel was perfect, quiet location with lovely guests and nice food - buffet three times a day. I liked the day we spent on the beach, it would be nice if it happened in the first few days, but I understand that it was challenging due to the lousy weather. In conclusion, I had a great time in this program, it helped me learn things I did not know, and in general, I had a great time with beautiful people.
What can the Eureopean Union do to better protect refugees? or What can Europe do to welcome refugees?
These people have the right to feel safe; they have the human right to live. People rebuild their lives more quickly when they feel safe, live in decent conditions and can enjoy their human rights, including the right to education. When given a chance, refugees integrate and contribute significantly to their host societies. A critical issue that the European Union needs to address is the time-consuming procedures required to obtain asylum. A standard and fair process must be established by all the member states of the European Union. Appropriate structures must first be set up in each country capable of accommodating people in beautiful living conditions and not in prisons, as is the case in many countries of the European Union. Individuals entitled to asylum need to be quickly identified so that they can receive asylum and support. Those who do not qualify for protection need to be quickly identified and returned with dignity and respect.
What will you do at the local level to promote the integration of refugees and migrants in your country? Do you have some suggestions for activities to raise awareness on the topic or measures to take? At a local level, I owe it to myself to promote what I have learned in this program; I need to get in touch with the youth to hear what they believe and how they can help in the effort for integration of refugees and migrants in Cyprus. In addition, in cooperation with government agencies in all cities, schools should inform young people about the migration request and the note to hug immigrants from the local community. The integration of refugees is a process with constant changes, which requires cooperation between all parties involved. Personally, I think that the best method of integrating refugees into a society is language. As I mentioned above, education is the most critical asset to learning in this situation. When young people come in contact with these sensitive issues from a young age, then characters will be built who want to help the people who come to our country. Characters will be created who will not compromise with the luxury of their home but will want to offer a helping hand to people in need. In addition, I believe that non-governmental organizations should take responsibility for the general direction of various activities such as learning the language of the host country, events with locals and refugees and much more.