Refugees and Migrant Workers Are Here

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Refugees and Migrant Workers Are Here,

We Are Here, Indonesian Migrant Workers Union,

Event 19 Dec 2015, 18:00-22:30

We Are Here Cooperative (WAH), the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU), Doorbraak and Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory present Refugees and Migrant Workers Are Here.


On Saturday 19 December, we invite you to this benefit and event where we shed light on two amazing projects that IMWU and WAH undertook: We Are Here Cooking and the documentary Dispereert Niet (2015, 45 min.) by filmmaker Irwan Ahmett. The evening starts at 18:00 hrs and will go on until 22:30 hrs, taking place as part of the Study Program of the exhibition project We Are the Time Macines: Time and Tools for Commoning at Casco (until 13 March at Lange Nieuwstraat 7, Utrecht).


Against the background of a global refugee crisis and the poignant reality of refugees and undocumented migrants in the Netherlands, we would like to challenge you to stand in solidarity with all newcomers, including those living and working here for many years. With the help of numerous volunteers and organizations such as Doorbraak and Here To Support, IMWU and WAH have done much to visualize and stand up against the inhumane situations in which refugees and undocumented migrants find themselves. They have also shown what people are capable of through self-organization and resistance: their presence here and contributions to society are invaluable. We firmly believe that everyone is welcome and no one is illegal.


We welcome you to this benefit with an elaborate program consisting of: Ahmett’s playful and empowering documentary film Dispereert Niet about the lives and self-organization of Indonesian migrant workers; DJs from WAH; and a Living Library through which you can engage in small, informal, roundtable conversations with experts and representatives from WAH, IMWU, Doorbraak, and others with different perspectives on the issues at stake.


Join, support, share stories with refugees and migrant workers and learn about their lives!


About We Are Here Cooking


‘Wij Zijn Hier, wij koken hier’ [We Are Here Cooking] is a cookbook developed and produced by the We Are Here Cooperative: a cooperation between members of refugee collective We Are Here and professional designers, photographers, and writers.


Through a variety of recipes, the cookbook tells the story of WAH. For We Are Here food has played a large role in connecting with supporters and the communities they live in, but also for establishing social connections within the group. By cooking together and creating dishes with the ingredients and supplies available to them—however limited—they bring people together. They discover new things, develop new recipes, and give traditional dishes a new and “Dutch” twist by working with the ingredients available to them. They combine cuisines to make delicious meals. Through their food they present all the tantalizing aromas, tastes, and colors they bring to the Netherlands and talk about the memories connected to their dishes.


The collection of recipes is complemented by a series of interviews with volunteers and supporters who assist WAH with their daily errands. With this, the cookbook also visualizes the extensive food network that surrounds the refugee collective: organizations, merchants, supermarket managers, and all others who donate or collect food for We Are Here.


This project is funded by Start Foundation and DOEN Foundation.


We Are Here is a group of undocumented refugees in limbo living in Amsterdam that does not get any housing provided by the government but also is not allowed to work and therefore should live on the street. The group decided to make the inhumane situation that they have to live in visible, by no longer hiding, but showing the situation of refugees that are denied asylum in The Netherlands. Thanks to the power of the refugees and the help of many supporters, the group has existed now for around three years. WAH is currently in different locations.


About Dispereert Niet (2015)


Dispereert Niet, a documentary about Indonesian migrant workers in the Netherlands focuses on the daily lives of our friends at the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU). The film was the product of collaboration between artists Irwan Ahmett, Tita Salina, and Rangga Aditiawan. It is no ordinary documentary due to the presentation of the issues and interviews it brings up being in the form of a work of art.


One will easily be taken away by the stories of migrants as well as the explanations of professionals, by the emotions, the sadness, happiness, and ups and downs of the lives of migrant workers.


IMWU NL is a self-organization, established by and for the Indonesian migrant workers in the Netherlands. IMWU NL aims to promote the labor rights for all workers particularly for Indonesian workers, both documented and undocumented, in the Netherlands. We determine to eliminate human trafficking, jobs trade, abuses and various forms of rights violation and discrimination against all workers particularly Indonesian workers in the Netherlands.


Doorbraak is a Dutch volunteer-run initiative. Many people believe they are alone in this world and that injustice is inevitable. Doorbraak believes that change is definitely possible, which is why they spread their vision and work together with people who are standing up for issues that matter for everyone. In this way, Doorbraak is contributing to successful resistance against capitalism and more justice and freedom in every aspect. Moreover, they understand themselves as part of a broad tradition of bottom up struggle and solidarity, which—in all its diversity—has existed for centuries on all continents.