May 31 – June 13, 2021, Zagreb, Croatia – An assembly of activities titled “Art in Service of Solidarity” took place from 31st of May till 13th of June of 2021 in Zagreb, Croatia. The project was about familiarization as well as the inclusion of homeless people as a marginalized group. In further paragraphs, it will be described who was taking part in the project, how participants were familiarised with the situation of homelessness in the host country of Croatia and what main activities for the marginalised groups the project consisted of.
The programme is prepared and lead by World Youth Alliance Southeast Europe with the institutional and financial support of the European Solidarity Corps. The international team forming and participating in the activities is composed of people from Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Romania and Slovenia.
Briefing with a theoretical background was performed as on-place familiarization with the organizations working with homeless in Croatia and their work: Association Home of Hope: Daily shelter for homeless people (Udruga Dom Nade: Dnevni boravak za beskućnike), Social Work Student Society of Zagreb (Društvo Studenata Socijalnog Rada), Shelter for homeless of Velika Kosnica (Prenoćište za beskućnike Crvenog Križa – Kosnica). Also, further familiarization with research on the situation in Croatia and self-study of countries of origin of volunteer with a presentation of findings was performed.
Activities physically involving homeless people were formed as two separate workshops where participants expressed their thoughts, stories and emotions through artistic means of communication. Each workshop was led by an artist, facilitating expression and physical manifestation of stories, during the first workshop through painting on canvas and in the second workshop through personalization of daily use items as glass bottles, wood trays and other accessories.
Through the means of artistically expressive activities, homeless people could communicate and be accepted and included in society. Through the expression of each person’s individuality, their human dignity was reaffirmed as described in WYA texts on human dignity and art. A still ongoing two-week workshop contributed to an increased volunteers’ knowledge and awareness of the situation of the homeless as a marginalized group. Acquired experiences will be indispensable in planning and spreading activities reaffirming and promoting human dignity in volunteers’ countries of origin.