Legis Starts Refugee Story-sharing Campaign in Macedonia


                              Legis Starts Refugee Story-sharing Campaign in Macedonia


The current situation with refugees and asylum seekers is alarming and requires urgent attention. A number of factors have led to the current state of affairs. Following the border closure of 2016, despite the decreased migratory movement, there has been a growing number of refugees/migrants resorting to unsafe and irregular ways of migration, with women and children being particularly vulnerable in this regard. There is therefore a dire need for increased awareness among asylum seekers and irregular migrants about the risks of trafficking and smuggling and options for safe migration, but also, among CSOs and relevant actors working with refugees. Additionally, the border closure of 2016 resulted in further isolation of the migrant population currently transiting or residing in Macedonia. Refugees currently transiting are transiting through far-flung terrains, invisible to the eyes of the local population. The 2 transit-reception centres and the only asylum centre are also located outside of the towns. The border closures have also caused prolonged refugee stay in closed-type facilities, which has only deteriorated their social isolation. All these factors have led to refugees becoming completely invisible to the local population, which in turn has even further fuelled an anti-migratory, discriminatory and xenophobic climate. There is therefore an acute necessity to create space for more exchanges between the local population and refugees in the country, to raise the awareness among the locals and build empathy, as well as improve refugees’ social inclusion.


Thus, Legis in cooperation with Stella, is starting a campaign for sharing refugee stories which aims to give voice to those currently invisible to us, so that their personal perspective is heard. The story-sharing campaign will draw a parallel between people migrating through Macedonia, and people migrating from Macedonia. In a national context where a great percentage of the Macedonian population has migrated abroad, it is necessary to draw a parallel between the migrant reality of newcomers to Macedonia and Macedonians that have migrated abroad so as to build solidarity.  In many ways, these people are facing similar chanllenges.The campaign wishes to go beyond the mainstream media narrative of representing refugees as either people to be feared or people to be pitied and aims to represent them as simply people, with hopes, dreams and fears similar in many aspects to the local population. The stories will be shared in written and video form.

The story-telling campaign is in fact part of a bigger project: Building Bridges - Intersection of local, migrant and refugee perspectives. Within the framework of this project, LEGIS will aim to 1) improve access of asylum seekers and people in irregular migration to information on the risks of human trafficking in irregular migration, as well as information about safe migration options; 2) raise the awareness among local population about xenophobia, prejudice, discrimination, gender-based and ethnic violence with regards to migratory movements 3) strengthen  the capacity of actors working on the refugee/migration response through trainings on Human Trafficking Prevention.



This project was implemented by Legis with the support of the Capacity development for Selected actors working with asylum seekers in Serbia and Macedonia. The Capacity development for Selected actors working with asylum seekers in Serbia and Macedonia was established by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is managed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammmenarbeit (GIZ) GMBH.