Association Updates

Mid-Term Seminar in January

From the 22nd to the 27th of January, the 2014-2015 Zugvögel volunteers participated on the mid-term seminar, wich took place in Mainz, Hocheim am Main. Sudarshan (Nepal), Richard, Diane, Ernest (Rwanda), Andrea and Paola (Ecuador) shared six days of seminar with Nass (volunteer 2014), and Christian and Erick, volunteers from the „Deutsch- Tansanische Partnerschaft eV“ organization.

During the seminar, the volunteers shared their experiences about the first six months in Germany including topics such as: daily conflicts, relationship with host families, work, leisure time, etc. They also discussed about social perceptions, and it was also possible to talk about culture, development, discrimination and stereotypes. Another important topic was the one concerning about the visa application process and information about labor rights.

Empowerment was also discussed during the seminar, with the participation of the Phönix organization, the volunteers exchanged views and experiences in large and small groups according to this topic. Through games and exercises it was possible to maintain a relaxed environment to talk about desires, plans and fears for the next six months of voluntary service.

During this time it was also possible to enjoy Mainz with a city tour and all the volunteers visited the Gutenberg Museum, and they also had a fun afternoon with ice skating, and finally, a delightful evening of international cuisine was organized.

Time passes quickly but the happiness, big hugs and smiles of the volunteers are still warm and strong. As a volunteer all I can say is that we are a family!

Thanks to everyone who organized the mid-term seminar. See you soon!

Paola Solis Arana

Reunion at castle Lohra

This year, Castle Lohra hosted us for our spring-reunion (RM). From the 8th until the 11th of May Zugvögel from all over Germany came together to exchange experiences and information among the regional groups, debate and make new decisions for the conception of the association. As opposed to former places of reunion, we were completely isolated from any civilization this time, so that we could fully focus on our work and the manifolded contents.

The program was filled up to the top as usual and material for discussions was available in abundance. Even the sudden return of winter in the plenary hall could not distract us from detailed debates. One essential point will from now on substantially change the work of the Zugvögel. We have always seen ourselves as a political association but from now on we will more often act in that capacity. As an association we want to get involved in discussions, take a stand and live up to our positions. In the light of that decision we have worked out a new self-conception. Another big project will be our “Visa-Campaign”, with which we plan to react to the events that took place over the last year. In addition to that we want to critically reflect our own work and conduct a “ Rassismuskritische Prozessbegleitung” (a n evaluation of internal associational processes from a perspective that is highly sensitive to and critical of racism in all its forms). This will help us to rethink our structure and our work from a point of view that is critical to racism and to redesign aspects and features wherever necessary. To coordinate these new tasks and to anchor that within the association, we have created a new position within the Orga-Team.

The substantive debates, voting procedures until late at night and presentations of the preparation work of the small working groups formed a large part during the MR.

But an MR would not be an MR without delicious food and a party until the early morning hours. In the end we commenced our journey home with deep, dark circles around our eyes, but at the same time full of energy and motivation to tackle the new challenges and tasks, which await us.

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