Ojalá Projects is born from a group of university teachers with the anxiety to innovate in the education field generating experiences to the students that promote the empowerment of groups in a high risk of social exclusion.
Our area of intervention is global. Through the workshops we propose a national, European or international immersion (depending on the case we work) in which students are offered to a vital experience in a field that presents a crisis or conflicts.
In this context, multidisciplinary groups are formed that carry out tasks that include training, working in the field, international cooperation and development of creative projects that have a direct return with the group we work for.
Our aim is to introduce some social and cultural values by generating pieces of creation made by university students from in all disciplines of creativity and art to make the diffusion of realities that are no far from us and raise their awareness to guarantee their personal and professional growth.
Ojalá Projects started when a graphic designer called Anaïs, decided to paint a mural on the outside walls of the 5th school squat (abandoned centres that have been occupied by refugees and migrants) in Exarchia neighbourhood, in the middle of Athens. The mural shows a labyrinth that starts with the word “Hope” and very complicated loops cross over each other until they reach the word “make”. They then begin to simplify towards the final word “future”. This metaphor reminds them that the road is only easier if you try to make it yourself.
There are 3 roads represented by different colours that cross the main white road lead by the refugee kid; the Brown one is the road from Turkey to Greece; the blue one is the journey across the greek sea and the grey one reflects the road they take from Athens to the Balkans. A red background at the beginning is their past and the war they have come from, the middle yellow background is their present in Greece, and lastly, the blue towards the end represents their freedom.
This year, Ojalá Projects has carried out a workshop called "Re-creating the Refuge", which aimed at the creative immersion of students of psychology, dramatic art and communication with the refugees who reside in the centre of Athens.
The students had to face the constant instability of the refugees and motivate them to feel part and participants of the projects. All projects have been directed, conducted and edited by the students. In one week the students, co-working with the young non-accompanied migrants had created the We are all refugees letter, a song where they talk about their histories. Some cinema and art dramatic students recorded the video clip. A music student made the base of the song.
At the same time, other cinema students had recorded the 5th School Squat video, where they were showing how the refugees are organized in the squats in a moment where the government was treating them to evict the centre to return to the refugee camps.
Finally, we made some investigation of pregnant women that live in a self-organized building. Recording and talking to them, we decide to make a documentary about it, cause we realized that when we talk about refugees, we are only thinking in a general way. During the week the same week as the other projects, two journalism students have recorded the teaser of the documentary that we finally recorded this July 2019 and it is still in process.
All the pieces me try to make with the students serve us as an instrument to give an answer to a social making it visible in the social field through conferences, workshops and conferences in schools and higher centres.
Because we believe in Ojalá as an organic project that can contribute alongside other associations or entities to promote the global and social change that surrounds us. We find that there is no point in fighting for your account when what matters is at stake and it affects us all. For that reason, we think that the Anna Lindh Foundation can help us to be known and empower our projects as well as listening to what people aware of social issues do.