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MIITTI’s Role in Owning My Story: An EU Erasmus+ Project That Empowers Migrant Narratives Across Europe

Here at Pro Lapinlahti Mental Health Association’s MIITTI, we’re excited to tell you about the EU Erasmus+ project, Owning My Story, a collaboration between New Women Connectors (NL) and Pro Lapinlahti.

The project aims to empower migrants and refugees from across Europe to take ownership of their own narratives and advocate for themselves through creative methods, such as storytelling.

Stories of migrants and refugees in public discourse often come from sources that don’t reflect their authentic experiences. Their stories are mainly shaped, framed, and shared by the media, voices, or individuals who don’t represent the migrant and refugee communities.

So, in order to take ownership over their own stories, in the “Owning My Story” project, migrant and refugees activists in Europe reclaim leadership of their narrative and amplify self-advocacy through storytelling.

Nine individuals from around Europe gathered at Lapinlahden Lähde to participate in a storytelling lab in February. Throughout the program, they underwent intensive training to master the art of storytelling, delving into new methods and techniques to enhance their skills. Alongside this, they formed connections, got to know the Finnish culture, and the Lapinlahti area.

On their last night in Helsinki, everyone stepped onto the stage, sharing their unique heartfelt stories, putting their newfound knowledge into practice in a story-sharing event in Kulttuuritila Merirasti. Surrounded by music and enthusiastic cheers, their narratives resonated with the audience, who eagerly embraced their tales.

The next step is to co-create a campaign together via online meetings and training in Amsterdam in April. The final performance is scheduled to take place in Brussels at the start of May, where participants will share their stories. These narratives will be recorded and utilized for an online campaign leading up to the European Election in June 2024.

It has been great to be part of this project, and we hope to make a meaningful impact in amplifying migrant and refugee voices. Thank you to all participants for being with us! Your dedication and contributions have been invaluable. Keep shining brightly as you continue to advocate for change!

Article written by Julia Valkonen-Moisei, MIITTI project