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FAMILIES WILL MEET AND SHARE THEIR CULTURAL HABITS

An extraordinary Sunday lunch

HAVING a Sunday lunch with your family may not be as boring as it first sounds. Especially if you are accompanied by foreigners who live in your neighbourhood.

HAVING a Sunday lunch with your family may not be as boring as it first sounds. Especially if you are accompanied by foreigners who live in your neighbourhood.

Seven European countries, including Slovakia, will invite 420 local and foreign families to attend a lunch served in the house of either locals or foreigners. Apart from enjoying the meal they will have the possibility to learn more about each others’ cultures and their homelands.

The event will take place within the Next Door Family EU – Inclusive Neighbourhood project and will take place on November 18.

“Such meetings support the mutual communication, the understanding of cultures, the development of personal relations between domestic families and families of migrants, and the integration of migrants on a personal level,” said International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Slovakia, which is one of the partners of the project, in a press release.

The whole concept of the inter-family lunches comes from the Czech Republic where the association Slovo 21 (Word 21) launched its Next Door Family project in 2004.

The project was even awarded by the European Union as one of the three best models of integration of foreigners into society which allows its participants to meet interesting people, and learn about their life as well as their culture, reads the official website of Slovo 21.

The project was launched in order to find alternative ways to support intercultural dialogue and integration, to bridge the gap between the majority of society and immigrants, and to shatter prejudices as well as fight extremist and malignant attitudes, according to the website.

More than 442 lunches, which included 884 families, have been organised since 2004. Last year, for example, the project was attended by 50 foreign and 50 Czech families from all around the country.

This year’s event will be special since Belgium, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, Spain and Italy also want to organise a lunch for the families living in their territories.

“We are convinced that the personal contact and new experience is the best way to dispel the stereotypes and become open to other cultures, habits, people,” reads the IOM press release.

Such meetings might be a good opportunity for people living in the same environment to meet and learn more about their lives. Slovak families can, symbolically, cross the borders of their homeland and help foreigners to learn more about the life and habits of the country they live in.

“One short meeting can develop into long-time friendship,” IOM added.

Moreover, every country will pick one lunch which it will record. The recordings will later be used for a documentary that will show the cohabitation of major societies and foreigners in Europe, and will serve also as an educational material.

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