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Welcoming Communities

The creation of wellcoming communities has evolved as a central approach for motivation and empowerment of migrant and Roma youngsters during training and  learning.  Establishing community connections for these younsgters is crucial for anumber of reasons:  In addition to education, language and employment, social integration has been widely identified as key to participation. Social networks are key to  language learning. They also help in finding links to employment and learning about unarticulated work expectations and attitudes. Disadvantaged migrant children and youngsters often lack quality social networks due to segregation in poor residential areas and schools. Often they interact with other children and youngsters who are struggling with language competences. In many background societies, grand parents perform key roles in teaching youngsters langauge and other key competences. In migration contexts many youngsters may not have the support of their grandparents. Due to the low educational background of  their parents, disadvantaged learners often lack family support that their counterparts have. Establishing community connections is therefore key to feeling at home and navigating the complex new system of education, employment and language learning.

Photograph by Oliver Heinzt

This picture showcases Mary who practices German while learning about wine growing with her welcoming community. This intergenerational welcoming community provides a two way exchange where seniors perform valuable societal roles and fillup an important gap in society and whereby migrants also give back to their new communities. Mary a migrant entrepeneur exchanges knowledge about a very unique traditional method of cloth making from the bark of a tree which is practiced in her background society.

From our needs analysis we identified a program which can provide a good orientational model for expanding the concept of community connections. The VerA and coach@school which is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) is  an expert volunteer-based project for preventing early school learving. Seniors with many years of experience in life and work support youngsters in vocational education overcome work related and daily life challenges throughout the course of vocational training. This program and its component should be expanded through a specific focus on disadvanatged migrants. So far, there has not been specific attention to migrants. However, such a structure is crucial in building the quality social networks as a crucial missing factor for supporting migrant children and youth faced with the challenged of double segregation in low performing schools  poor neighbourhoods  where they live and encounter  weak peer networks and poor family structures due to migration. Below you can find the link to the initiative VerA.

https://www.bmbf.de/de/initiative-vera-stark-durch-die-ausbildung-1076.html

One of the challenges and measures for counteracting early school leaving has been identified as the important need for creating  welcoming culture in schools. At the same time, strengthening  intercultural competences requires actual encounters with different cultures. Intercultural competences cannot be learnt only through intellectual discourses but more through the emotional levels. This photo showcases the  unique welcoming community in Romania. Consortium partners were introduced to the Roma specific welcoming culture.