32 Slovak and migrant families shared their Sunday lunches on November 18, 2012. The meetings were organized by IOM International Organization for Migration within the project Next Door Family – Inclusive Neighbourhoods. The project aims at bringing together Slovak and migrant families, majority and minority population living in Slovakia.
Shared lunches were attended by families coming from Mexico, Pakistan, Columbia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Afghanistan, Russia, Egypt, USA, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, all together from 11 countries. They met with Slovak families in Bratislava, Limbach, Ivanka pri Dunaji, Trnava, Malé Ripňany (close to Piešťany), Príbovce (close to Martin), Košice, Prešov, and Bardejov. One family meeting had to be cancelled at the last moment. However, both families intended to meet in the near future.
Each meeting was attended by one Slovak family and one migrant family – one family hosted the meeting and prepared a Sunday lunch while another one came to a visit. It was a unique opportunity for both families to meet interesting people, get to know their life stories and become acquainted with each other, learn more about each other’s culture, customs, and cuisine, obtain some interesting experience and to make new acquaintances in their neighbourhood.
All the meetings commenced at 1 p.m. with the last one finishing at 7.30 p.m. Most of the families exchanged contact details and agreed to meet again in the future, some of them even arranged their next meeting. Family meetings enable migrants to obtain personal experience with Slovaks and vice versa. Personal contact, communication and the possibility to get to know each other can reduce barriers and isolation and can promote relations between Slovak and migrant families. It is a chance to live together, not just next to each other.
Apart from Slovakia, on the same day the family meetings were simultaneously held in Belgium (13 meetings), the Czech Republic (54 meetings), Hungary (16 meetings), Malta (20 meetings), Portugal (75 meetings), Spain (over 60 meetings), and Italy (25 meetings). There were 280 meetings of local and migrant families in different parts of Europe including more than 2000 people.
One selected family meeting was filmed in each country participating in the project. The documentary film Next Door Family will be produced to demonstrate coexistence of locals and migrants in Europe. It will be further used for e.g. intercultural education in schools, trainings on intercultural skills, film festivals and other events.
Photogallery from the family meetings
About the Next Door Family project
For several years this project has been successfully implemented in the Czech Republic by NGO Word 21 -see the Family Next Door movie, produced by Word 21 with meetings between Czech families and migrant families: http://youtu.be/IafK_HB-CJA. This year, the family meetings were carried out at the international level within the project in eight countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
The coordinator of the project Next Door Family EU - Inclusive Neighbourhoods at the international level is NGO Word 21. The project and family meetings in Slovakia are organized by IOM International Organization for Migration, Grösslingová 4, 811 09 Bratislava, Slovakia.
Project Next Door Family EU – Inclusive Neigbourhoods is co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (EIF) and by the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Media partners of family meetings in Slovakia are: Radio and television of Slovakia and SME daily.
More information on donors and partners of the project Next Door Family EU - Inclusive Neighbourhoods.
Promotion of the family meetings in Slovakia, 18 November 2012
Radio spot in the Slovak radio, 1. - 14. 10. 2012
Article in The Slovak Spectator, 29. 10. 2012
Poster on family meetings in Slovakia, 18 November 2012