Politics should not just be made for but WITH stateless people - a sneak peek into our Statefree Community Lab.
Stateless people usually have no influence on politics. Without citizenship there is no right to vote and therefore no way to change policy making. As if that wasn’t enough, those who make decisions - politicians and others - often make those decisions without even knowing that stateless people exist in their own country.
“Do politicians even care?” was one of the most common questions asked by stateless people when we started to share that Statefree wants to pursue changes in politics and plans to get in contact with German politicians. It is understandable that stateless people and communities are turning away and losing hope and trust in politics because of how they have been overlooked in the past. On the other hand, this makes it even more important to build a bridge and come up with creative ways to enable political impact for stateless people and bring politicians and stateless communities closer together.
Our first attempt to address this challenge was the Statefree Community Lab, which we kicked off on July 23. The Statefree Community Lab has one main focus: Open conversations and critical discussions with those who we see as the real experts on statelessness: those who have experienced it first hand, stateless people.
In our first stage, the intention was to bring this group of experts together and present to them the policy reforms that Statefree had been working on. With this goal in mind, we hosted a one-day workshop for a group of stateless people who are either born in Germany, based in Germany or used to be based in Germany. Of course this event took place in the (political) capital of Germany: Berlin.
What did we discuss in the Community Lab?
How did we feel about the Community Lab?
"I was worried that it would be boring today because it is about politics... I'm glad it wasn't." One of the participants shared at the end of the day. Others felt that the day was “informative”, “awesome” or “wunderschön”, which is German for wonderful.
One feeling that shaped the entire day was the strong sense of collective strength. Being able to talk about the issues, while also thinking about the ways one could improve them created a sense of hope.
How will we continue?
The interest in “more workshops” or “more communication and social media” was pointed out by the community members who participated in the workshop and made it clear that there is interest in staying involved.
Based on this feedback Statefree is now working to further develop the structure of the Community Lab and raise additional funds to increase capacity and strengthen this format of a Community Lab.
We are convinced: “Yes, there are politicians who do care” - and, we will make sure to strengthen collaboration and conversation between those politicians, stateless people and ourselves.
* How did Statefree facilitate the Community Lab?
All participants were reimbursed for their travel and accommodation costs and received a honorarium payment as an appreciation for their time and the knowledge that was shared.