WSCF-E at Global Forum on Migration & Development

January 12th, 2012 10:50 am

Time to to truly start the PGA. The first day of our mission seems to be packed to its limit. We start with a wonderful morning worship led by Nichea. She brought us to her beloved Michigan talking about the pieces of God-created land and showing stones, that were glimmering in the water. They give impression of being very plain, but once soaked with water start to show an incredible myriad of silver webs. Just a little ingredient that can change so much. ‘They are just as people’.


Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you set your feet is holy land…
Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

Our first meeting takes place in the headquaters of World Council of Chruches where we meet Roswitha Golder from the International Reformed Center and Sydia Nduna, WCC programme executive for Migration and Social Justice We are able to experience the Swiss landscape of different churches in which each week gather thousands of migrants. Roswitha underlines that many of 250.000 sans papiers are looking for help in their local faith communities. This is a huge challange, but also a chance to welcome new people, open up for new traditions. An interesting perspective on that is presented by Alessandra Trotta, president of the Italian Methodist Church. She shares about the intercultural experiences of her community in Palermo that succeeded brilliantly in providing for their community needs once it has been joined by many internationals. Later on we reflect on what makes a church a migrant church and if this label is really appropriate. Do you want to call your community migrant? Do you have a better label for that? Would you prefer to share or keep the migrants in their contexts? Many questions come up and even more answers. All of them so inspiring…

The second meeting takes place at the World Young Women’s Christian Association headquarters. We are able to share with the General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. She brings so much warmth and hope. Her every word opens for the new, opens eyes and inspires. We discuss at length what each of us is committed to and what our hopes and fears are. The empowering meeting has a very clear message: there is a lot to do, but united, we are able to reach the even the most distant goals.

In the afternoon our delegation takes part in the first plenary, which focuses on migrant problems seen from different perspectives: North American, African, Asian and Marrocan. Four speakers outline the main challanges and problems. Each time their voices are fading, they feel weak and miserable to regain the power and show us that there are many windows of opportunity to engage, to support and to act. The variety of problems ranges from lack of legal recognition, sort of blindness presented by the governments, incoherent policies and ever-lasting visa problems to health issues, education and basic needs fulfillment. Again we are faced with a landscape of exploitation, greed and exposition to all kinds of threats that migrant meet on the daily basis. Border militarization, the commodification of peoples and undocumented workers – all that issues make it hard to come back to the hotel and just simply fall asleep.

After a long day we finally meet at Plainpalais to meet with the participants of the Civic Forum and see the cultural performances. The night is owned by the Filipinas who present their national dances. Incredibly colorful, joyful and happy. Their energy translates into great mood of all of us. Tomorrow we will face more problems, it’s good to forget about them just for some time.


WSCF-Europe Publication Editor-in-Chief

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