While supporting all initiatives which spread the stories of refugees, RefuTales goes further. In our view, it is necessary to involve refugees in the refugee policy debate. Not only does this empower refugees by showing them that we value their insights, but it also helps solve the countless problems that exist ranging from housing to job market integration. The opinions of refugees could offer the key that we have all been searching for.
Unfortunately, refugees are often infantilised and seen as passive and inferior receivers of help who we ‘successful and wise westerners’ are kindly taking under our wings. Yet, refugees are just as intelligent, creative, and many also as educated as we are. Having made it to Europe, they have already demonstrated a willingness to take risks and work hard for their dreams—skills that are essential in today’s economy. More importantly, they are human, and by their humanity alone their views are deserving of the same level of respect.
Focus: daily problems in Europe
The circumstances under which refugees come to Europe are often demeaning. Whilst solutions must urgently be found, this is not the focus of the blog: there are already many initiatives aiming to relieve the suffering of fleeing refugees, and a blog can can change little about the complex issue of human trafficking.
First and foremost, we aim to tackle inefficiencies: where they are and how they can be reduced.
By limiting ourselves to what happens on European territory, however, we can well have a big impact. The daily problems that prevent refugees from flourishing but are rarely talked about, interest us the most.
About the name ‘RefuTales’
We would like to give refugees a platform to spread constructive ideas, so we coined a name that contains both ‘refugees’ and ‘tales’ . The contraction ‘RefuTales’ alludes to the word ‘refute’—meaning to take a stand against something. With our blog, we take a stand against paternalism. When refugees come to Europe, they are often deprived of many freedoms: where to live; where to work; what language to speak. They are often treated like livestock—divided up between different countries. We refute the idea that refugees should be left at the mercy of western peoples and politicians. They have their own minds, and their voices should be heard.
When refugees flee to our countries, they are deprived of a lot of freedom of choice. In policy questions, too, they are rarely listened to. With RefuTales we want to change this. We strive to bring refugees’ opinions to a wider audience, we are hoping to give refugees a voice. Ideally, our project will offer new insights that will lead to a broader public debate.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Cornelius, Sajida and Dorien