Refugees have names and remember stories in cinema in Lisbon

Each refugee has a name and story to tell. Daud and Ismail show their, next Thursday in Lisbon, Festival Refugees IN, a European project that aims to contribute to the inclusion through the cinema.

Daoud Al-Anazy fled Mosul, the Iraqi city that fell in 2014 into the hands of the extremist Islamist group and even toured Syria, Turkey and Greece before arriving in Portugal in December 2015.

At the age of 27, he speaks a Portuguese who is hesitant but enough to guarantee him a job. He works at the Pão de Ló House in Alfeizerão, near São Martinho do Porto, in the municipality of Alcobaça, where he lives and shows himself prepared to stay in this “calm country” so that he does not have to “start over” in another European country

The film, he says, “is important to help refugees” and “to change their perception of them.”

“I tell my story, how I got to Portugal, what I do,” says the documentary “Daud”, one of the 12 that will be exhibited at the International Conference and Festival Refugees IN, which takes place on 22 and 23 November in Lisbon.

“Tomorrow is better” is the title of the documentary that portrays the new life of Ismail Haki in Portugal.

The title sums up the hopes of this 38-year-old Syrian in a brighter future after escaping from the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo.

Graduated in Interior Design, this former employee of the Syrian railways currently studies architecture at ISCTE and arrived in Portugal on 06 June 2016, on the same day of his 36th birthday.

He decided to participate in the Refugees IN project so that they “know who we are” and so that people know a little more about “the life and experience of refugees”.

Despite the lack of support, he is committed to learning Portuguese. He waited six months before he could begin to learn – despite being registered in the Portuguese Platform of the High Commission for Migration – he went ahead alone.

Thanks to the insistence – he rejected the possibility of doing the interview in English – he is gaining aplomb in Portuguese.

Ismail considers that there are “European countries that help refugees,” but regrets the lack of “a plan”.

“We fled from the war to a new life, we need a plan,” he says.

It has the support of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia to rent a room in Lisbon, but it has had difficulties in finding a job that can reconcile with the second year of the master’s degree that began now.

He also regrets the delay in health services – “I waited a year and a half for an appointment,” he says, “but he guarantees that I like being in Portugal and will only leave if I can not find a job.

Daud is also pleased with the work and welcome of the Portuguese who “do not make much difference in relation to the Muslims”.

The worst is the money. “It’s little,” he acknowledges.

Refugees IN will feature films from six partner countries: Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia, Italy and Germany.

The project is aimed primarily at adult educators and organizations working with refugees but also aims to raise public awareness of the promotion of a more cohesive and inclusive society.

According to Maria Helena Antunes, AidLearn, who coordinates the Refugees IN, the documentaries “are a fabulous instrument”, not only for refugees to reflect and dramatize on their own lives, in a “cathartic” process in which they can share their experiences , “some of them very traumatic”, and identify with others who have made similar inclusion paths, but also to develop skills.

In addition to the documentaries, to which prizes will be awarded by the public, a conference will be held where national and international officials will discuss issues such as the situation of refugees in Portugal and Europe and challenges and strategies for the social inclusion of refugees.

The film “Lampedusa in Berlin” will also be screened at a session where the director Mauro Mondello will be present.

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + program. In addition to AidLearn, it has partners such as the Hamburger Volkshochschule (Germany), Foligno City Center for the Studies of the City of Studies, Slovene University for the Elderly (Slovenia), Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology ( Ireland) and the Greek Council for Refugees (Greece).

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