Crossing Borders

Youth For Ukraine: Kick-off Gathering

Saturday, the 2nd of December, from 10:00 to 17:00, Crossing Borders gathered 38 Ukrainian youths aged 16-30 from all over Denmark to explore how they could create a meaningful and sustainable community for Ukrainian youth in Denmark. Working in large group dialogue processes, they explored the question ‘What would be a meaningful and sustainable community for you?’ and collaborated on projects, ideas, and initiatives they could undertake together. During the process, they clarified the values, events, and communication channels they wanted the community to be based on. They created five clubs: Sports, Creative Community, Mental Wellbeing, Online Community, and Social Activities, and established a Social Media community for their future work. The youth were very enthusiastic and engaged during the process, and it was clear there was a real need for the event, as one participant shared, ‘This is the first time I have felt at home in Denmark.’ Thank you to our partners from Bevar Ukraine and to Tuborg Fondet and BUPL Solidaritets- og Kulturfond who sponsored the event. The Youth For Ukraine gathering was the first of three initiatives planned by Crossing Borders. The next project is an innovation camp at the Youth Island outside Copenhagen, aimed at developing new solutions to the most pressing issues facing Ukrainian youth in Denmark. The innovation camp is scheduled for March/April 2024. We are following up with a 1½-year capacity-building program focused on the democratic engagement of Ukrainian youth in Danish society. This is the first national initiative that has been taken for Ukrainian youth in Denmark.

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Galvin Harrison’s Remarkable Journey: Crafting Unity Through Art 

On November 16th, Crossing Borders, hosted a special “Food For Thought” event that brought together 40 people from different backgrounds. The event was held in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and it gave participants the opportunity to connect with each other and share their personal stories. It’s a chance to learn from and be inspired by each other’s experiences in a supportive environment, all while enjoying a delicious meal together. The special guest for the November 16th edition was Gavin Harrison, the founder of T.N.G. Projects.  Galvin Harrison, a visionary artist, is transforming young lives in Nørrebro, Copenhagen through a remarkable initiative called T.N.G Projects. T.N.G stands for The Next Generation, and it’s all about inspiring young people to make sculptures that tell their stories. He was born in prison and grew up in a harsh care system.But instead of letting that hold him back, he turned it into something powerful. He used his love for art to help himself and now wants to help others.  Galvin’s message is clear: art can change lives and bring people closer. With his project, he’s giving young people a chance to express themselves and feel proud of who they are.  Driven by a profound understanding of the challenges faced by young people in navigating their identities, Galvin envisioned a project that would not only empower them to embrace their uniqueness but also foster a sense of unity and belonging. T.N.G Projects was born out of this vision, with its sculptures serving as tangible expressions of togetherness and acceptance, transcending the boundaries of age and cultural divides. Galvin believes that art can bridge gaps and help people feel accepted and understood.  During this event, Galvin shared how art changed his life. He talked about making beautiful sculptures and how they bring people together. He showed amazing, sculptures made by youth and kids. Galvin understands the struggles faced by many young people who inherit a mix of cultures. These challenges can create conflicts within them, making it hard to feel like they belong. He believes that by creating a welcoming space where everyone’s story is celebrated, these conflicts can be healed. His dedication to helping young people find their identity despite the challenges they face is commendable. Galvin’s journey teaches us that no matter the obstacles, embracing art and unity can create a better future for everyone.  Galvin’s journey is proof that no matter where you start, you can create something beautiful and inspire others along the way. With art, he’s making a world where everyone’s story counts and where we all understand and support each other.  Both the Food for Thought event and Galvin Harrison’s visionary T.N.G project share a profound similarity: the celebration of diversity and the power of shared narratives. While one provides a platform for individuals to exchange life stories in a warm and welcoming environment, the other, through its sculptures and artistry, embraces the same spirit of inclusivity and learning. Both initiatives stand as beacons of empathy, encouraging understanding, and fostering connections that transcend barriers of age, background, and nationality. They remind us that in sharing our stories and celebrating our differences, we create spaces where empathy thrives, understanding flourishes, and unity prevails.  About the author: I’m Bikalpa Bibash Basaula, an intern at Crossing Borders, Denmark. I recently had the pleasure of attending the Food For Thought event, organized by Crossing Borders, and it was an incredible experience.

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Migrantour Adventure: Copenhagen’s Coolest & Colourful Neighborhood

After taking part in her first migrantour, Crossing Borders volunteer Margaret Maged Maher from Egypt wrote the following piece on her experience:  On my second day in Denmark 15 November 2023, I had one of the best experiences I’ve had in learning about a world I wasn’t aware of! How can one neighbourhood contain all these landmarks that highlight so many cultures? I never thought that when I came to Denmark, I would see so much diversity and different ethnicities from many cultural backgrounds from all over the world. On this migrant tour I was one of 23 international students from various countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Vietnam. After coffee and croissants, we were taken on exciting tour of NørreBro starting from the Cultural House UNION and through some 5 landmarks in the Nørrebro neighborhood which ranks as the coolest neighbourhood in the world in 2021 according to Time Out magazine. Each landmark has its own story about the cultural background those immigrants brought along with and how they integrated into this new world while maintaining their own identity. The neighbourhood has both been shaped by as it shapes the new cultures. At the end of the tour, I discovered that the migrant tour is one of the most important activities that emotionally affect a person and make him more connected to where he is. Organised by the Anna Lindh Danish Network, the event was a collaboration between Crossing Borders as Head of the Network and International People’s College as a member. The purpose of the Migrantour is to train and empower immigrants to tell their stories and the stories of the neighbourhoods they call home from their perspectives. The guides of the tour were Furkan Akay from Turkey and Maryam Alaoui from Lebanon.

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Green Eco-Lab – Open Space Centre

The Green Eco-lab – empowering Ugandan youth to combat climate change.    The mission:  Our mission in the Green Eco-lab project is to provide support, supervision, and financial management. As the lead partner, Crossing Borders plays a crucial role in overseeing the project’s implementation, ensuring that the activities align with the project goals and objectives. They are responsible for project coordination, monitoring, and evaluation. Additionally, Crossing Borders conducts information work in Denmark to raise awareness about the project and its development efforts in Uganda. Through various local activities, online platforms, newsletters, blogs, and articles, Crossing Borders disseminates information, educating the Danish public about the project’s impact and the challenges faced by young people in Uganda due to climate change.  Empowering Ugandan Youth: Addressing Climate Change Challenges through Green Eco-lab Initiatives:  The Green Eco-lab project is addressing the adverse effects of climate change in Uganda, particularly in underserved communities. Climate change poses serious threats to key development sectors in Uganda, such as agriculture, water resources, fisheries, tourism, and health. The project focuses on empowering young people in secondary schools and communities to adapt to these climate-related challenges. Specifically, it aims to increase awareness and build the capacity of young people to detect, design, and implement practical, evidence-based solutions for climate adaptation. The project addresses issues such as air quality, weather variability, soil quality, biodiversity, and water resources. By creating a Green Eco-lab as an in-school training and experimentation hub, the project enables young people to conduct experiments and develop solutions that can support communities in adapting to the changing climate conditions in Uganda.  Our partners:  Crossing Borders collaborates with Open Space Centre (OSC), an experienced youth development organization, brings expertise and a robust network for engaging young people. Together, they establish a Green Eco-lab in an underserved school in Mukono district, Uganda. This lab serves as a hub for in-school training and experimentation, allowing young people to create practical climate change adaptation solutions.   Our goal:  Our goal is to empower Ugandan youth to combat climate change. We aim to raise awareness and build practical skills, enabling these young individuals to develop innovative solutions for climate adaptation. Collaborating with partners, we create a dynamic learning hub. We envision the Green Eco-lab as a center for environmental innovation, where hands-on experiments and shared knowledge thrive. Our mission is to inspire a new generation of environmentally conscious leaders, equipping them to create resilient, sustainable communities. Together, we work toward a greener, climate-resilient future. 

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Learning Spaces for SDG 4 – Teach the Child

Educational empowerment for a brighter Bwari: bridging disparities in public schools    Our Mission  Our mission is to bridge educational disparities and empower 90 pupils from Bwari Area Council, Nigeria, who’ve participated in CISU-funded Capacity Strengthening workshops for Changemakers. We’re doing this through innovative teaching methods, utilizing specially designed educational tools and the TaRL approach. Our aim is to enhance learning outcomes, empower educators, and advocate for vital education reforms, all in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).  Empowering Bwari’s Future Through Quality Education   In 2018, research highlighted a stark educational disparity in Bwari Area Council. Approximately 80% of students were struggling with basic literacy and numeracy skills. This alarming finding underscored the urgent need for intervention. Our initiative, based in  Bwari, is designed to address these challenges by creating accessible Learning Spaces (LS) for 90 pupils who’ve actively participated in CISU-funded Capacity Strengthening workshops for Changemakers.  Our Partner  We’re proud to partner with “Teach the Child,”a dedicated organization committed to promoting education and positive change within Bwari Area Council, Nigeria. With innovative teaching methods and purpose-built educational tools, our partnership not only aims to enhance learning outcomes but also empowers educators.Our collaboration is committed to advancing SDG 4, ensuring quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.  Our Goal  Our primary goal is to equip public school teachers and students in Bwari with 21st-century teaching and learning skills. Through TaRL, we aim to improve learning outcomes, foster dialogue among education stakeholders, and promote investments in public education. This project seeks to significantly enhance education in Bwari by providing accessible Learning Spaces for 90 students who’ve participated in CISU-funded Capacity Strengthening workshops for Changemakers. Through innovative teaching methods and specially designed educational tools, we aim to empower students and educators, advocate for essential reforms, and catalyze broader impacts, not just within Nigeria but beyond. 

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Crossing Borders Statement

As an organization that was founded to facilitate dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, it is devastating for us at Crossing Borders to watch the Holy Land being turned into a war zone. It is even worse to see ordinary citizens, children, sick people, and civilian infrastructures relentlessly bombed into rubble. It is indeed horrifying to see the world watching millions of people in Gaza having their most basic needs like water, food, and medicine cut off, while their homes, hospitals, and schools get bombed. As the UN, the President of the EU, Amnesty, and Human Rights Watch have stated, this is a clear violation of international law and humanitarian principles. At Crossing Borders, we condemn these atrocities in the strongest terms possible and call for immediate intervention by the international community before it’s too late. At the same time, we strongly condemn the killing of Israeli civilians on 7 October, which ignited the current cycle of violence. In this sad moment, we think of the several hundreds of Crossing Borders members and their families on both sides and wish for their safety. In this recurrent cycle of tragedy, any serious search for a sustainable resolution needs to start with looking into the roots of the tragedy. Any honest person with a minimum of knowledge and a sense of humanity knows that the only way to end the carnage and build peace is to put an end to the illegal occupation and relentless brutalization of the Palestinian people. In international law, the occupying power has the duty to protect the civilians under its control. It is naive to not expect that violence breeds more violence and the cycle goes on as long as its root cause remains, with the short-sighted backing from the powerful states of the international community. This blind support of the brutal subjugation of the local people has exposed the double standard and hypocrisy on the part of some of the world powers. In the long run, such short-term and short-sighted support of either side will boomerang sooner rather than later. Therefore, we call on those countries (the US and its allies) who have the power to help enforce the UN resolution for a two-state solution as the most viable way out of the violence. May peace reign in the Holy Land. Crossing Borders

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An Evening of Insight and Unity with Charlotte Flindt

On October 12, our Food For Thought event featured a remarkable guest, Charlotte Flindt, an expert in international relations and a captivating speaker who shared valuable insights about her experiences and thoughts on current global issues.   As a member of the CB team, I was welcoming guests at the entrance when I witnessed a touching moment that truly represented our community’s spirit. An elderly man, eager to attend but lacking a Mobilepay app, was helped by a caring couple who bought his ticket. This act of kindness highlighted the warmth of our community, where age and familiarity are no barriers.  At the beginning of the event, attendees shared their diverse origins, emphasizing the event’s inclusive atmosphere. Following that, Charlotte shared her life story: portraying her teenage years spent in the Soviet Union and vividly describing her experiences, both in her studies and work. Later She went beyond personal stories. She addressed the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the tensions between Israel and Palestine. Her words resonated deeply, especially when she said, “Courage brings Freedom,” highlighting Ukraine’s resilience against Russia’s aggression. She also emphasized a fundamental truth: “War happens when people stop having a dialogue.” This insight shed light on the complex situation in Israel and Palestine, stressing the need for open conversations to promote understanding and peace.   After her impressive speech, attendees gathered for a shared meal, where conversations continued. Witnessing new connections form was heartening, showcasing the warm atmosphere of Food For Thought events. These interactions highlighted the event’s importance – it’s not just discussions; it’s a platform fostering friendships and meaningful talks. The event reminded us of the power of dialogue and understanding. War often arises from communication breakdowns. Charlotte’s words guided us toward a world where open discussions prevail, ensuring unity and peace.   Food For Thought isn’t just an event, It’s about inspiring change, making connections, and embracing diverse perspectives. We welcome you to become part of our community, where every voice is valued, and every story contributes to our shared understanding. Join us on November 16 for another evening of enlightenment and togetherness!  Authored By: Luka Tsibadze

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Engaging Danish Schools in Development Work: Visit with Adventure Efterskolen 

During the last week of September CB, together with 100% for Børnene and Promentum, visited the Adventure Efterskolen in Broager. We implemented a three-day workshop with their project management course focused on creating engagement both locally and globally around the SDGs for our project Engaging Danish Schools in Development Work. This was accomplished through hands on activities that implemented non-formal education techniques to explore what are the SDGs, how they are being implemented globally to in turn look at how we can view them in a local context. This was made possible thanks to Denmak School in Zimbabwe which shared the ways in which they are localizing the SDGs. This was based in a new relationship between the two schools resulting in what we call Friendship Schools – a sustained collaboration and dialogue between peer groups across the globe. This Friendship School partnership allowed the Danish students to learn about new cultures and contexts, as well as challenge their own ideas of “Africa”. By doing so, we were also able to challenge our own ideas of Denmark as well– leading to many fruitful conversations in group and individual formats.   After spending the first day learning about the SDGs as a whole and the projects done by Denmak School, in which the students were especially moved by the Zimbabwean peers production greenhouse on site and their solar panel projects, the students spent the second day looking at project management and Design Thinking principles to dream up local ways they could take inspiration to make a similar project. After an intense day, in groups of 3 and 4, the students gave one-minute proposals on ways to implement one or more SDG in their context. This ideation process resulted in student-led proposals on reducing food waste in supermarkets (SDG 2), installing solar panels at their school (SDG 7), awareness about water system pollution from fertilizer run off in agriculture (SDG 6 & 12), and re-examining the meat-free menu options in their school (SDG 2). After getting peer-to-peer feedback and guidance from the facilitators, they fine-tuned their proposals through using Empathy Mapping and Product Walk.  This practice allowed them to imagine how local stakeholders and users might receive their projects. At the end of the day, each group gave a final presentation with these new considerations and the entire course chose one final project they would like to work on over the coming weeks. Spoiler alert: reducing food waste in the supermarkets overwhelmingly won the student vote.  The last day, as per the feedback from the group, we focused on the concrete ways to ensure an implementation of  the project over a period of 6 weeks This meant the students divided into groups based on interest: project management, awareness campaign, and fundraising; And spent time dividing tasks and seeing how they could work together to guarantee implementation. Their end goal: Having local supermarkets mark down damaged/unsellable food products or to-be-expired produce and have the difference in price be used to raise money that they will propose to the Denmak School can be used on their greenhouse project. We left the group excited about the future steps to take to make this vision a reality. Now it is on them to take the next steps to implement it and continue their discussion with their new friendship school. Of course, we will be here to support them, but ultimately, we are looking forward to seeing how they can make this change in their community while engaging globally. Authored by: Andrew Gibbons

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SDGs Ambassadors – Engagement Project

Empowering Global Citizens: Uniting Schools for Sustainable Change    The mission:   In this project, our mission is to foster meaningful connections between students in Denmark and Africa, empowering them to work together towards common goals. Through education, collaboration, and sustainable initiatives, we aim to inspire a sense of global responsibility and create a positive impact on both communities.    Addressing Global Challenges: Sustainable Development, Education, and Cross-Cultural Understanding:   In this initiative, we address crucial aspects such as sustainable development, global education, and cross-cultural understanding. By focusing on Sustainable Development Goals, fostering international partnerships, and enhancing educational experiences, we aim to tackle social disparities, promote empathy, and nurture a generation of responsible global citizens.   Our partners:   Our key partners include the civil society organization 100% for Børnene (100%), the reputable consulting firm Promentum, and seven dedicated schools in Fredensborg municipality, notably represented by Humlebæk Skole. Together, we are breaking barriers, fostering global connections, and empowering students and educators to create a positive impact on a global scale. With this collective effort, we are shaping a brighter, more interconnected future for all.   Our goal:   From this project, we anticipate a profound transformation in both educational landscapes and global perspectives. We expect to witness a significant increase in students’ engagement and motivation as they actively work towards Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, we anticipate strengthened cross-cultural understanding, fostering empathy and compassion among students and educators alike. Through international partnerships and enhanced educational experiences, we aim to create a generation of responsible global citizens who actively contribute to social equity and sustainable development, leaving a lasting positive impact on communities worldwide.

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Free School Meals for a Greener World and Brighter Futures

Imagine a world where school meals aren’t just plates of food; they’re exciting adventures served with a side of sustainability. With schools adopting longer schedules and students desiring for healthy, sustainable meal options, the conversation on school lunches has never been more crucial.  Denmark, known for its liberal approach to school lunches, faces a pivotal moment. The country has the unique opportunity to redefine its approach to school meals, integrating nutrition, learning, and sustainability. On 29 September At the School Food Forum at the Frederiksberg City Hall a group of experts, educators, policymakers, and our dedicated team at Crossing Borders gathered to discuss and co-create the future of school meals in Denmark.  The day started with the energy of young minds in the Young People’s Foodlab, showcasing innovative proposals for green food solutions. This demonstrated how project-based learning and youthful creativity can integrate into sustainability education. The event was also graced by Jacob Jensen, Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, who set the stage with insights into the past, present, and future of school meals in Denmark.   As for the Crossing Border’s presence at the event, We were proudly presenting “Growing Green Communities” program. This initiative is more than just a project, it’s a vision for a healthier, sustainable future. “Growing Green Communities” Project aims to understand the pathways of change in urban food production and consumption, we encourage young people to support communities in initiating urban gardening projects. It’s about empowering young gardeners, promoting plant-powered diets, and supporting local food heroes. Through this initiative, every meal becomes an opportunity for learning, fostering a deeper connection between food, sustainability, and community.  The event culminated in a powerful discussion about the significance of healthy school lunches and different perspectives of school food policies, involving CB team members from various countries. It showcased Crossing Borders’ commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and the belief that every child deserves access to nutritious meals for a brighter future.  Our presence at this event symbolizes our dedication to shaping a world where education, nutrition, and sustainability intersect harmoniously. The importance of providing healthy meals lies at the heart of Crossing Borders’ mission, because at Crossing Borders, every meal is a story, and every story is a step towards a better, greener world. Written By: Luka Tsibadze

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