Building bridges, one link at a time

Based and operating in Geneva by eight hopeful young adults, the Essaim d’Accueil team works tirelessly towards the social inclusion of asylum seekers. As they profoundly word it, “Many who are called ‘migrants’ are not treated as individuals, but as part of a faceless mass. Essaim d’Accueil decided to build bridges between the asylum seekers and the current residents of the same area, despite different legal status and backgrounds.”

All around the world, bringing people together in a safe environment has the power to build connections, diminish ignorance, generate understanding and spark creativity.  Essaim d’Accueil applies that to the continuously expanding refugee crisis we face today. Using a network of volunteers, they welcome refugees, and non-refugees, with open arms, organize get togethers to spark connections, and counter populist messages of exclusion recurrent in Europe today. 

While building membership base of 60+, they have coordinated BBQs, city tours and cinema outings. The hope is to increase general sensitivity to a contemporary social phenomena; drawing attention to the causes and effects of ‘us vs. them’ and ‘sedentary vs. migrant’ perceptions. To do so, they are working to integrate workshops into their program, focusing their efforts on building a peaceful society. 

What makes them different? No transaction of goods takes place. Instead there is a private, personal exchange in a space without judgement or categorization, a space where everyone is equal. The team is open to new ideas; opening themselves up to anyone who wishes to get in touch and make their ideas come true. 

Essaim d’Accueil does not sell a product, but relies solely on donations. In order to reach more immigrants, Essaim d’Accueil is running a OneMillionSparks campaign: all donations go towards training their 60+ members and solidifying the foundations of membership. This will allow them to broaden the diversity of participants and increase their impact in the Geneva area. 

Winning a PremaGyan Good100 medal at the April 2017 edition of the GoodFestival, Essaim d’Accueil is looking forward to attending the next GoodFestival event. 

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This story was previously published on GoodPowWow.