“What if it was me?” The EPIC partner JRS Portugal raises awareness of the many difficulties refugees go through after being forced to leave everything behind.
The local communication campaign carried out by JRS Portugal during the first quarter of 2023 had per objective to tackle the most common hate or uninformed comments a lot of citizens have about refugees arriving in Portugal while generating empathy and respect for the severe costs people fleeing war, persecution or conflict face, not only of economic lost but most importantly, psychological.
In contrast to discourses that try to focus on the monetary cost of providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, the Portuguese partners’ campaign invites us through videos, images and testimonies to reflect on how we would feel if we had to give up our lives as we know it.
We all enjoy family gatherings, our freedom of choice and speech, our friends… What if I was forced to leave all that behind to reach shelter, unsure if I would ever meet it again?
While the campaign ideation started before the war in Ukraine and did not intend to address the situation of Ukrainian refugees exclusively, but all those seeking international protection in Portugal, it was launched at the right time, when people were more receptive to learning and knowing more about this reality. With this in mind, the campaign managed to achieve some prominence, taking advantage of this wave of solidarity that emerged from civil society but covering the issue so that it does not focus only on this recent situation but on the general reality, with the objective of transforming the ad hoc positive reaction on a long-lasting situation.
A key moment for the campaign was a public event in Lisbon in February 2023, gathering many different but complementary initiatives supporting refugees, local citizens interested in helping, and most importantly, some refugees that shared courageously their personal stories to raise awareness on such a sensitive situation.
The campaign period is now concluded but the different exchanges among local actors have meant the creation of new partnerships that will continue cooperating to show effective avenues to support refugees and guarantee social cohesion, respect, and tolerance in our societies.
More info can be found here :
- https://agencia.ecclesia.pt/portal/events/jrs-portugal- migrantes-partilham-testemunhos-no-encerramento-da- campanha-e-se-fosse-eu/
- https://setemargens.com/campanha-do-jrs-chega-ao-fim- com-testemunhos-de-migrantes/
- https://www.netthings.pt/2023/02/E-se-fosse-eu- campanha-tenta-sensibilizar-portugueses-sobre-situacao- dos-migrantes.html
- https://www.briefing.pt/2023/02/01/a-jrs-da-movimento- aos-refugiados/