Refugees welcome? European adult educators can help receiving nations to prepare

A film about and by young refugees

A film about and by young refugees

I blogged last week about the role of adult education in helping refugees settle and integrate in their new country. Another obvious role for adult learning us to the existing population learn how to rub along with the new arrivals.

Many German institutions are responding to the crisis, adult education centres among them. Let me take one example, a course offered by a Volkshochschule in the hold town area of Hamburg. Its title is “New Home in Hamburg?”, and it comprises three meetings, each of two and a quarter hours, on Tuesday evenings. Here is the publicity statement.

The topic of flight and migration is ever-present in Hamburg, it affects many people. How does the current situation look for refugees in Hamburg? What are the procedures that they face, and what routes did people have to take who have fled here? What does it mean for Hamburg institutions which are actively offering support and how can I become involved myself? What is the media image of refugees and how does it affect perceptions? Among other things we will show the short film ‘Hotel California’, which was produced together with young refugees. It deals with their experiences in Germany and offers a good basis for discussing the refugees’ politics, which we will complement with the experiences of politically active young refugees.

I’m not arguing that this is an example of best practice; apart from anything else, the published programme went to print well before so many people fled the conflict in Syria. But it is certainly one practical example of how providers can contribute, and one we could adapt more widely across Europe.

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