“Big Brothers Big Sisters”

You can see more on website: www.bigbrothers-bigsisters.at

Vienna, Austria

“Breaking Barriers”

Breaking Barriers is a charity whose mission is to help refugees in London acquire the knowledge, confidence and experience to get stable, fulfilling employment.

They offer intensive support to respond to the individual needs of their clients. They help them map the journey into work and define milestones along the way. The journey starts with an in depth appointment to establish the client’s skills, ambitions, the short and long term goals and exactly what support is needed to achieve them. Clients are then enrolled in one or more of their four programmes: Refugee Support (advice and guidance services for refugees in London), BB Employment Academy (working in partnership with business), BB Futures (supporting 18 – 24 years olds), BB English (providing workplace oriented language tuition).


Barriers that are being broken:
• Gaps on the cv and difficulty in obtaining references
• lack of recognition by employers of overseas qualifications.
• lack of the UK work experience that employers often look for
• unfamiliarity with hiring practices and UK workplace culture and expectations
• inadequate English language skills
• less experience of computer processes and common software programs used in the UK


Web site: www.breaking-barriers.co.uk/

1 Mark Square, London EC2A 4EG, UK

“Paths” the first newspaper for asylum seekers and refugees in Croatia

“Paths” the first newspaper for asylum seekers and refugees in Croatia

Jesuit Refugee Service in 2016, launched “Paths” to establish deeper mutual trust and information for people forced to leave their homes in search of protection and security. “Paths” is written in Arabic, Farsi, English and Croatian and is published monthly.

Director of Jesuit Refugee Service, Tvrtko Barun, says newspapers are derived from the idea that asylum seekers who have been granted international protection in Croatia provide a platform for expressing their opinions and attitudes and transferring refugee and integration experiences. “We want the project to be the center of sharing opinions, experiences, problems, desires and hope and plans on the road to security and freedom.”

Sarajevska cesta 41, Zagreb, Croatia

“We are London”

Title: We are London

• Arts focused activity for youth
• Bridges the gap between young Londoners from new communities, especially refugees and asylum seekers, and young Londoners from more established communities.
• Local South London base (Oval)
London, UK


Ovalhouse Theatre

Funding bodies:
‘We are London’ has benefited from the former support of: J A Clark Charitable Trust, The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, City Bridge Trust and The Baring Foundation.

Contact details:
Naomi Shoba, naomi.shoba@ovalhouse.com

Project background

National/regional/local context regarding R/AS (countries of origin, stats etc):
London as a hub for refugees

Project information

Project description:
We are London is a youth-led arts project that bridges the gap between young Londoners from new communities, especially refugees and asylum seekers, and young Londoners from more established communities. We work with young people who lives are complicated by poverty, lack of opportunity and bureaucracy and who experience social, health or educational barriers.’

‘With over nine years of expertise in arts and migration Ovalhouse has developed a body of evidence to about the effectiveness of arts activity with those from refugee backgrounds and those with English as an additional language. The project uses participatory arts methodology, allowing young people a key role in influencing and guiding the work.’

Project goals:
‘Arts to Empower: The project uses inspiring and non-threatening arts processes – especially those that are not language led – to enable young people to make sense of their life circumstances and the challenges of being young in London, while building confidence as creative individuals.
Building Bridges: We are London supports young people to build respect and understanding across cultural boundaries through working in a supportive environment towards a common artistic purpose. It offers creative ways of building new social networks between young people from a range of communities, and uses the arts to explore concepts of identity and diversity.
Youth Leadership: The project provides valuable opportunities for young people to take on leadership roles, to influence the development of the project and build transferable skills. We are London offers training in arts leadership, volunteering opportunities, career support and advice on progression routes.
Celebration: We are London gives participants an enjoyable and uplifting experience that contrasts with the complications and challenges of daily life. Young people have the opportunity to receive formal accreditation for their work at Ovalhouse through Arts Award (Level 1 & 2 qualifications) and to share their achievements with others through performance and exhibitions.

We are London is part of Ovalhouse’s wider work concerning arts and migration, which includes The Paper Project a collective of young migrant artists and Platforma a national network for refugee related arts that we run in partnership with Counterpoints Arts.’

Ways in which young people are engaged:
‘Youth-led’; opportunities to take on leadership roles; training; participatory arts methodology

Identified strengths:
“Ovalhouse has an outstanding reputation in the refugee sector.”
Almir Koldzic, Director of Counterpoints Arts
“In my view their work is outstandingly good.”
David Cutler Director, Baring Foundation
“Before I couldn’t do drama, dance, music and speaking English properly. Now I can do them 100 per cent!”
We are London Participant
“In the beginning I didn’t have much confidence to talk to people then I came to Ovalhouse and joined a project that is for people from different countries. I made lots of friends and one who is from my country who is now like a brother to me.”
We are London Participant

Any further information:

Focus on integration – little information on website but interesting in terms of ‘youth-led’ activity’ (finding out what that means) and encouraging collaboration with other young people not from a refugee background. Arts focus is innovative. (See also Rewrite (London) and Bandbazi (Brighton).)


London, UK


“Wefugees offers a unique refugee support structure. Our easy-access online tool allows new arrivers and locals – irrespective of whether they are refugees, volunteers or experts – to exchange solutions for individual problems. Thanks to our broad spectrum of themes, users can either ask questions or answer them.

All information shared is public, making it easier for the community to adress and overcome problems. In this way, refugees and supporters can help each other.

We also connect and inform refugees and volunteers offline. Subsequently, the acquired knowledge is uploaded as well, in line with our values.”
“We believe, that a society will become more inclusive once its members interact eye to eye.

We believe, integration is possible once refugees are actively involved in generating solutions.

We believe that knowledge should not be monopolized and limited to a small number of people, but it should be gathered collectively and accessible to all.

This is why we support refugees, volunteers and experts in helping each other and enable sustainable access to their knowledge. In doing so, Wefugees not only facilitates self-empowerment, it also reduces the pressure of conventional support programmes through effective knowledge transfer.”


In 2015, Cornelia Röper came up with the idea for Wefugees while working for the software company Enabee. Her idea: the chaos of Facebook support-groups could surely be resolved by using a simple customers-help-customers software. Following a research period as well as as a co-design workshop with refugees and other actors from the refugee support scene, Cornelia began to realise her idea in early 2016. With thousands of clicks and hundreds of questions within the first month, it quickly became clear y that a platform such as Wefugees was high in demand!

In February 2016, Henriette Schmidt joined Wefugees and, together with Cornelia, started to expand the programme and to create a larger team. In May 2016, both left their jobs to concentrate on Wefugees, which was shortly after founded as a gUG. Scholarships have been key for Cornelia, Henriette and the team. Cornelia has been awarded the Social Impact Lab’s Think Big and Startery scholarships. Meanwhile, Henriette receives the PEP (Programme Engagement with Perspective) scholarship from the Ashoka foundation and SAP since September 2016.


Web site: https://www.wefugees.de/ 


Kniprodestraße 97, 10407 Berlin, Germany

“Young Roots”

Areas of exploration
Title: Young Roots

• For young refugees and asylum seekers in London (11-25 year olds)
• London but also some international activity
• Charity working through short-term projects
• Committed to youth participation in the development and delivery of the work.
London, UK

A small charity with a new Director appointed in September 2016. There is also a Projects Manager. It also has a Board of Trustees.

Funding bodies:
In the year ended 30th November 2016, Young Roots total income from grants and donations was £267,655 (2015: £186,375). More details are available in our published Financial Statements.
Funders include: The Big Lottery, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Children in Need, London Catalyst, Wembley National Stadium Trust, Woodward Charitable Trust, as well as individuals who have given one off contributions or regular monthly donations.

Target audience/participants:
Young refugees and asylum seekers (in London)

Duration of the project:
Started 2004; current London project started in 2016 when the previous one ended.

Contact details:
Young Roots,
Cornerstone House, 14 Willis Road, Croydon, CR0 2XX, UK

Project background

National/regional/local context regarding R/AS (countries of origin, stats etc):
Many of the participants have lived through conflict in their country of origin or suffered difficult experiences on their journeys to the UK. About half of the young refugees they work with are alone in the UK. These unaccompanied asylum seeking children are looked after by foster carers or live in shared houses with other young people.

Specific drivers of the project:
London as a hub for refugees.

Origins of the project (how it started and developed):
Young Roots was founded in 2004 as Refugee Youth Project by Roz Evans, Rachel Yarrow and Kathy Brook. They established the charity with the aim of supporting refugee children and other young refugees in the UK and internationally.
Young Roots became a UK registered charity in April 2005 and has been run as a company limited by guarantee since early 2011.

Project information

Project description (courtesy of the website):
We welcome all young refugees and asylum seekers at any stage of the asylum process and regardless of their English language level. Our groups are safe spaces to have fun, develop language skills, learn about the UK, meet others from their country, make new friends from around the world and get advice.

We aim to improve the life chances of 11– 25 year old refugees and asylum seekers in and around Brent and Croydon. We achieve this by running fun and educational activities, offering peer-led language learning, and providing one-to-one casework.

Many of our activities are run in partnership with other organisations to provide holistic support and ensure young people can access other services and opportunities. Our mixed youth groups in both locations benefit from workshops and support from Coram Children’s Legal Centre, the Children’s Society, Compass and Breaking Barriers. The peer-led English coaching in Brent is run in partnership with the College of North West London (Willesden and Wembley Park campuses), the girls’ group in Croydon is jointly run with the Refugee Council, and the girls cycling sessions with the Bike Project.

Project goals:

Our mission is to improve the well-being and life chances of young refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and overseas.

Our vision is of a world in which all young refugees and asylum seekers can realise their rights and fulfil their potential.

Our ambition is to be respected and known for our innovative and participatory approach to young refugees and asylum seekers self-advocacy and learning.

Information on volunteers/staff etc:
In 2016, Young Roots reached over 600 young refugees and asylum seekers through its projects in London, Lebanon and Nepal. 354 of them were in London.
See 2016 report

Project activities (courtesy of the annual report 2016):
These are the current project activities. For information on previous projects see the website here.

Many young refugees and asylum seekers risk becoming socially isolated. They are often insecure about their language skills, are traumatised from all they have experienced and don’t have many friends.
Young Roots runs regular youth groups where young people enjoy a social environment and where they learn skills to help them to integrate.
Each week 40-50 young refugees and asylum seekers come to our Youth Group in Croydon where they dance, take part in drama and music sessions, enjoy wellbeing sessions like mindfulness, play games and learn about important issues like health.
We also run a special weekly Girls Group (together with the Refugee Council), which includes over 20 girls from all parts of the world. It’s the only one of its kind in Croydon and its numbers have grown rapidly.
Our Youth Club and Lunchtime Group in North West London run an equal number of activities, including homework support, boxing and theatre. Our lunchtime group often sees 25 young people and our youth club is attended by about 10 young asylum seekers and refugees weekly.
Each Thursday evening, we run a football project in North West London. This is extremely popular and the boys get so much out of the physical activity, teamwork and benefits to mental health.
Still highly valued are our cultural trips. Each month we organise fun activities such environment, integration into the UK and help with orientation around London. We also run a range of trips in the holidays.
We find that many of our young people meet each other outside of the activities and we observe increased confidence in their communication with staff and volunteers as they take part in our activities.

Practicing English and strengthening young people’s communication skills run as a thread through our activities.
Being able to communicate is essential for a young person’s personal development and social networks. Our activities improve language skills, creative expression and teach how to define and express opinions.
Our innovative Peer Support project is one of the most popular activities for young refugees. This accredited programme benefits both those who are mentors and those who learn from them as mentees.
In North London, where this project started, the programme is flourishing and expanding to a second campus at the College of North West London. We also run this project in Croydon.

Young refugees do not often get the opportunity to shine. Being part of marginalised communities, discrimination and trauma affects their confidence and threatens their personal growth.
At Young Roots, we make sure we give our young people access to opportunities to learn, grow, explore their talents and be heard.
Together with the London Youth’s City Leaders Programme, a team of our young people in Croydon undertook a project to improve our Youth Club. Based on thorough research, they decided to organise English lessons and buy a table football table. Their project will see 500 young people benefiting over the next 2 years.
To further strengthen the opportunities for young people within our organisation, we are now developing a strategy and toolkit to ensure that we embed youth participation at all levels of the organisation.

Establishing our new one-to-one Casework Service has been a key achievement this year. This service was developed in response to an unmet need for more specialist support, advice and guidance for young asylum seekers and refugees.
Our experienced and skilled caseworkers support young people access high quality legal advice and representation, access mental health support, resolve issues with their foster carers, support them through age assessment processes and help them access education. Increasingly, we support young people find emergency and then longer-term accommodation. The service is extremely busy and we’ve had to expand the provision to help meet demand.

In response to the increasing hostile environment for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, Young Roots is working with Amnesty International UK to campaign for Child Family Reunion. Through media work and public campaigning, we share our grass roots experience. We have written to the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families who is conducting a Review of Safeguarding of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children. We also gave evidence to the ‘Greater London Authority’s’ Children’s Rights Inquiry for London in November.

Ways in which young people are engaged:
Peer support and training for this.
‘Young people’s participation is fundamental to our approach. We involve young people in the development, planning and delivery of our work, as well as in the recruitment of new staff members. Our group’s members consult their peers, choose activities and trips and help plan events. We take feedback and ideas from young people very seriously.’
Further information on youth participation within Young Roots can be found here.

Project evaluation strategies:
Between July and September 2015, Richard Malfait Consultants conducted an independent evaluation of the Young Roots, Bridging London Project. This evaluation report presents the feedback collected from over 100 participants and stakeholders on the ‘difference made’, project delivery and suggestions for improvement.

The main strengths were identified as follows:
#1 Young Roots was described as a “very highly valued and respected organization”, which is definitely cause for celebration. We are recognized for our strong commitment to the needs of the young people we work with, our participatory approach and our collaboration and flexibility in working with other organizations.
#2 All stakeholder groups have emphasized the power which the activities Young Roots routinely organizes have in reducing loneliness and boosting self-esteem for “young people who would in many cases have very few chances to socialize, visit places and enjoy themselves with peers.”

Identified problems, weaknesses or areas for development:
The main area for improvement suggested was to develop and resource the individual casework and advocacy role and to review and ensure sustainable capacity and distribution for essential project functions.

Outcomes; achievements & Identified strengths:

See 2015 annual report for project outcomes: http://youngroots.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/YR-2016-Annual-Report.pdf 

‘Young Roots has a proud record of supporting young refugees and asylum seekers through an engaging and participatory approach that recognises their individual potential and abilities to determine their own needs. Through relationships developed with our staff and other young people, they are able to build skills and confidence, and gain access to the services and support that they need. While the outlook for young refugees and asylum seekers can appear bleak, the young people we work with are often determined, energetic, talented, compassionate, optimistic and ambitious about their futures.‘

Any further information:
They also work through trusted, long-term partners in Lebanon’s Al-Bass refugee camp and Nepal’s Bhutanese refugee camps. Having established the projects using the ethos and aims of Young Roots, we lead on raising funds and supporting our partners on the ground in their direct work with the young refugees.


Website: http://youngroots.org.uk/london/


Cornerstone House, 14 Willis Road, Croydon CR0 2XX, UK

“Culture Buddies”

The project “Kulturbuddys” (translated “Culture Buddies”) was started in autumn 2015 by the youngcaritas Berlin, which promotes the involvement of young volunteers as part of the Caritas Association for the Archbishopric Berlin.

The “Kulturbuddys” are a colourful group of young people with and without migration background, who engage in cultural activities twice a month. Since there is a high demand for support and meeting opportunities with people who arrive in Germany, the “Kulturbuddys” offer a possibility of direct contact in Berlin. This happens on a creative, easy-going level, which allows an open and relaxed exchange.

The project is intended to enable young refugees to participate in city life, to playfully learn the language in exchange with other young people, experience culture and get to know the city of Berlin. The cultural activities are intended to provide an orientation and an understanding of the city, as well as the opportunity to meet people who have been living here for a long time and have networks already, to interact with them and to find support and friends.

In the project, all participants design the program on an equal footing. Whether it’s cooking, training as a teacher, interest in music or studying communication science, anyone can bring their or their interests. The focus here is on voluntary commitment as well as the playful getting to know the cultural background. Both sides learn more about social norms and values in Germany and in the countries of origin of the newcomers and profit on a personal level through their shared experiences. Charlottenburg Palace, the Natural History Museum, colorful cooking evenings and a picnic in the park and much more are complemented by seminars and workshops, some of which are also initiated by the participants themselves.

The project enables early and sustainable integration for the New Berliners, sensitizing for tolerance and openness towards people and cultures. In conversation, mental limits are opened, prejudices and mutual reservations are reduced. Thus, the shared experiences and trainings create a commitment and responsibility and create sustainable supportive relationships between the participants.

During the last years we have established a network of over 100 participants. The participants are between 18 and 27 and around 65% of them have a migration background. Half of them are female. Today the network is growing by itself.

Web: https://www.youngcaritas.de/berlin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youngcaritasberlin/

Pappelallee 62, 10437 Berlin, Germany

“Youth on the Run”

Youth Red Cross Flanders: Youth on the run- Just a Game?

Can you step into the shoes of a refugee? Can you imagine what it would feel like to leave your home and loved ones behind? To be forced to flee your country and make your way to a new land? To negotiate physical borders and cultural barriers as you try to keep your family safe and give them a normal life?

“Youth on the Run” is a programme that aims to enable young people to put themselves in the shoes of refugees and asylum seekers around the world. This is realized by a 24-hour role-play. The role-play is based upon the interaction of participants (who play the roles of refugees) and instructors (who play the roles of various characters that the refugees meet on their long journey). By using this unconventional learning method, young people are more likely to develop tolerance for refugees and reduce prejudice and racism.

“Youth on the Run” is hosted by the Youth Red Cross in multiple countries. The Youth Red Cross Flanders hosts this programme multiple times a year.

Would you like to know more? Then read the experience of a participant and visit  http://www.rodekruis.be/wat-doen-we/hulp-wereldwijd/blog/inleefspel-youth-on-the-run

2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Are You Syrious

Are You Syrious started off in the summer of 2015, as the civil initiative of first responders from Croatia who tried to support refugees on the Balkan route. Today it’s a registered NGO with around 200 volunteers in many different countries. We deploy field teams and send aid shipments to Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, France, Germany… In Croatia, we provide daily support to refugees and asylum seekers. We’ve developed independent integration programs for both children and adults, to facilitate their access to education, housing and employment. We do advocacy campaigns whenever they are needed. We believe that no one should be stripped of their basic rights such as protection and humanitarian support. We advocate for open borders and fair treatment of all people on the move. One of our core activities is providing daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties. We’re happy to receive useful info from anyone who can contribute.


More info: www.facebook.com/pg/areyousyrious


Ulica Brune Bušića 42, Zagreb, Croatia

Bicycle fixing project

Giving refugees a sense of purpose and an opportunity to learn about sustainability!

The Croatian authorities have been strongly condemned by Amnesty International for their treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Yet grassroots movements in Zagreb are helping those who have been displaced. Marina Kelava reports on one bicycle fixing project that is giving refugees a sense of purpose and an opportunity to learn about sustainability.

Odai Ajam is an archelogist from Idlib, and one of the attendees at a bicycle repair course for refugees and asylum seekers in Zagreb. “I had a bicycle in Syria when I was a child, but it got broken and I had no money to fix it,” he told The Ecologist.

“When I came to Croatia I saw that people really enjoyed using bicycles as their method of transport. Now I go everywhere with a bicycle, come rain or snow.”

The bicycle course has been organised by Biciklopopravljaona, a volunteering collective that has donated more than 100 bicycles to refugees in the last year. The collective works to integrate refugees while also teaching and promoting sustainable solutions.

Cycling and recycling

The course is funded by the EU’s School of Sustainability project and aims to contribute to the integration of refugees but also to teach and share DIY skills and promote sustainable transport.

It is the first of this kind in the region and it is organised by Biciklopopravljaona, a volunteering collective that works within the environmental NGO Zelena akcija (Friends of the Earth Croatia), running workshops on Saturday afternoons.

I visited a workshop where they were learning how to tune wheels and change spokes. Five attendees from Syria, Libya and Iraq had already learnt how to patch a tyre, fix brakes, change cables and will go on to learn about and gears.

Eugen Vuković, the coordinator of Biciklopopravljaona and the course teacher, said: “This is a beginners course which we based on the very successful course we ran for women in November.”

“The idea is that the participants learn enough so that they can come and volunteer during our regular working hours when our Bike Kitchen is open to all citizens. People can come and fix their bicycles for free with the help of our volunteers.”

New skills

Ahmad A didn’t have much contact with bicycles until he found out about the course. The 19-year old from Damascus said: “This is the first time I’m doing something like this. It is difficult, like anything you encounter for the first time.”

He has been living in Croatia for the last two years, but has so far not been able to continue his high-school education. “I finished first grade of high-school in Syria and then had to stop.

“As I’m now an adult I would have to pay to continue my education so I don’t think I will be able to continue soon. I decided to apply for this course because at least I can learn something new here”

Biciklopopravljaona has been working very successfully for the last eight years. During this time volunteers have fixed more than six thousand bicycles. They have managed to include asylum seekers in the programme, even though they had not expected the high numbers that came from Zagreb.

Paying it forward

In the beginning, the people waiting for asylum decisions had no right to free transport in Zagreb. Since the facilities they were housed in were far from the centre of town, their freedom of movement was very limited.

This made the long months of waiting and uncertainty even more depressing. But getting a bicycle meant that they could move around the city freely.

And even though refugees in Zagreb were eventually entitled to free public transport cards, Biciklopopravljaona continued to collect old bicycles, fix them and donate them to refugees and other people in need.

In the last year more than 100 bicycles have been salvaged – returned to life and donated. Some of the people that received donated bicycles continue to return and from time to time help other users of the workshop.

Community engagement

Vuković said: “The idea to organise a course developed from this experience. Asylum seekers have become our regular visitors, so we thought it would be useful to include them in our work as volunteers. We think this is also our contribution to the integration process in the local community.

“Users of our workshop are people of all ages and social backgrounds in Zagreb. Many of them had no opportunity to meet a refugee from, say, Syria – so this is an opportunity to work on overcoming the prejudice the media sometimes create.”

“We’ve had no negative experiences. Prejudices that may have existed among local people have definitely gone. People want to help refugees, evidenced by the fact so many people have donated their old bicycles to be fixed and donated to refugees.”

Many of the bicycles have actually been saved from becoming land fill. They’ve either not been used for years or the owners have been told they are not worth fixing.

The parts used for fixing old bicycles have also mostly been recycled – other users often leave their old parts in the workshop when they buy some new parts, like seats, wheels and shifters.

Vuković told The Ecologist: “Maybe the skill of bicycle repair could also be useful to refugees who are looking for a job. If some of them become really interested in it, it is not impossible that someday they could get jobs as bicycle repairmen – why not?”

Useful skill

Besides connecting people and the economic and environmental benefits, the course is also helping people learn the Croatian language.

A longtime volunteer Talal Abedrabbo who is translating the course from Croatian to Arabic became a volunteer because he kept returning to Biciklopopravljaon with his bicycle that often required repair.

He said: “It is definitely a useful skill to learn – and the atmosphere here is always good.”

Odai also plans to come back and volunteer in the workshop after the course. He says: “I feel useful when I fix a bicycle. I will keep coming because I like bicycles and I want to help people like they helped me. The bicycle is now my car.”


Marina Kelava, freelance journalist.

Source: The Ecologist

Zagreb, Croatia

Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb

They Were, Those People, a Kind of Solution


The project They were, those people, a kind of solution is conceived as a long-term trans-disciplinary collaborative platform of What, How & for Whom/WHW from Zagreb, Tensta konsthall from Stockholm, EIPCP – European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies from Vienna, and Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) from Zagreb.


The specific driver of this project is improvement of perception of migrants within the local community as well as informing them about the same issue, promoting the value of solidarity and social inclusion. The project is equally aimed at migrants and local community and is about integration as a two way process that is oriented at connecting refugees and local community and working on their communication and exchange of experience. This project is important because it puts an emphasis on culture as a universal language for communication between people no matter their origin and background they are coming from.


The focus of the project is on connecting the artists and cultural organizations with migrant communities by conducting analysis of roots and impact of migration of labor, and developing creative strategies to address social inclusion and intercultural communication. The aim is to conduct cultural activities and research that will lead to the new models of social engagement for arts and culture, which will respond to changing face of Europe today.


The main focus of the project is the organization of educational programs and workshops where art is used as a tool to connect local community and refugees and to encourage refugees to engage with local community. Refugees in the project participate solely as participants, not as mentors, but all workshops have completely inclusive character and encourage horizontal participation of all so refugees can give their feedback anytime. Centre for Peace Studies works with and for refugees.


Cultural workshops are a very good way to encourage and develop integration where formal integration on an institutional level is not very functional. Through these non-formal and soft activities, refugees are being empowered, their communicational skills are being developed and they are also feeling more secure and more assured to stay in Croatia.


Selska cesta 112A, Zagreb, Croatia

Certificate course for former refugee teachers

In cooperation with Vienna’s Stadtschulrat (Regional Education Board), the AMS (Public Employment Service), the University of Vienna has been launching the certificate course “education principles for former refugee teachers”. The course is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs as a part of the project which analyses the backgrounds of refugee teachers and their needs for further education. Selected participants are upgraded in education to get ready for their career start as a teacher in Austria.

A new course will start in September 2018.

More information: zk_lehrer_innen@univie.ac.at

Christiana Weidel, The World of NGOs

Photo credit: University of Vienna

University of Vienna, Universitätsring, Vienna, Austria


Chatterbox is on a mission to highlight the significant untapped potential residing in the refugee community.
There are over 117,000 people with refugee status living in the UK. Despite having above average levels of education and training, refugees in our society are much more likely to be unemployed and in poverty.
Meanwhile, the UK is suffering from a deficit in language skills that costs the economy an estimated £48 billion in missed trading opportunities.

Chatterbox matches under-utilised refugee talent with opportunities in the demand for their language skills.
We train and employ refugees to use their existing language skills and experience and gain stimulating employment in the language services sector, benefiting both them and wider society.
We also provide engaging language learning services for individuals, education providers, and workplaces, and provide a way for learners to help others as they help themselves.
Our social enterprise is committed to operating in the most social and environmentally responsible way, reinvesting 100% of our profits into the enterprise to ensure the fulfilment of our mission.”

Project goals:

“Change the conversation around refugees by highlighting their significance in the society
Match under-utilised refugee talent with opportunities in the demand for their language skills
Train and employ refugees to use their existing language skills and experience and gain stimulating employment in the language services sector, benefiting both them and wider society”

Project activities:
Conversation practice; language tutoring

Outcomes; achievements:

“We provide accessible, stimulating employment and training for refugees from academic, professional, and industrial backgrounds in the language services sector.
We support the people we work with onto a pathway towards skilled employment by helping them rebuild their confidence, networks, and local work experience.
In doing this, we widen access to skilled work in disadvantaged communities and support the social and economic integration of refugees into our society.
We also promote language learning in society by providing affordable solutions to help individuals, corporates, and public sector bodies build up the cross-cultural competencies of their workforce in a globalised world.”

Blog: http://wearechatterbox.org/blog


1 Fore Street, London, England, UK

EFA London

EFA London was originally set up in partnership with London Citizens. The first classes were set up by Dermot Bryers (CEO) and Camille Alsop (trustee) in order to support London Citizens’ campaigning work, particularly the Living Wage campaign. The Living Wage campaign aims to secure an hourly rate for workers that reflects the real-life costs of living in London (and is higher than the National minimum wage). From conversations with hotel staff, Dermot realised that many of the workers that wanted to fight for fairer wages did not have the English skills to negotiate with their managers or organise their co-workers. Their lack of language left them frustrated and vulnerable to exploitation. And so Dermot set up an action-orientated ESOL course with Polish workers from the West London Hilton, supporting them to devise political and linguistic strategies to secure higher pay. Three years later, EFA London became a fully fledged charity with long-term funding that helped it negotiate the first couple of years. Our classes are now held in locations like schools, community centres, faith organisations and workplaces to reach people close to where they live or work. The charity has developed into a growing team of 9 trustees; 9 staff members and a host of volunteers as well as over 300 participants.


Project description:
EFA London provides English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses for adult migrants in communities across London. Our aim is to reach people who may miss out on mainstream ESOL courses. We believe that ESOL classes, with the correct focus, can enable people to access the social, economic and political benefits that would be out of reach without language training and support.

Project goals:
Our Vision
UK migrants have the language, skills and networks they need to bring about an equal and fair society.
Our Mission
To build ESOL learning communities with the capacity to effect positive change beyond the classroom.

Our Charitable Objects:
To develop the capacity of migrant communities across London in such a way that they are better able to identify and help meet their needs and participate more fully in society.
To advance the education of the public in the subject of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

We believe:
London is an unequal city with unacceptable levels of poverty and we believe we should try and change it.
Migrants, particularly those with English as an additional language, suffer disproportionately from the impact of poverty and inequality.
Language gives us the power to change our lives.
ESOL should be accessible to all those who need it, irrespective of income or immigration status
We are better able to effect change as part of a group and ESOL presents an excellent opportunity to work on collective responses to issues that affect our lives

Our teaching approach:
Everyone in the group participates in decision-making, including decisions related to teaching and learning.
Language learning develops from students sharing their stories and experiences.
Students are encouraged to communicate meaningfully and share their opinions before focusing on accuracy and building new language.
Students are encouraged to engage with issues in a critical way, asking questions and examining causes and consequences.
Students are supported to plan, take, and evaluate action to change their lives and communities for the better.
The classroom should be a place where friendships and supportive relationships can develop.


Project activities:
Classes for members of the community groups (campaigning groups, migrant support groups, Trade unions, faith organisations, schools, children’s centres, community centres)
Support their participants to take action so as to improve their lives and their communities

Ways in which young people are engaged:
They provide an email address where people can contact them so as to volunteer volunteering@efalondon.org. However there is no specific emphasis on being young. No information on who the volunteers are.
People could either campaign on societal issues (living wage, anti-fascism, anti-racism) or set up a class, or train with them or fundraise for them.


Web site: www.efalondon.org

London, UK

Great migration – Radio 808

Great migration (Seoba naroda)

Broadcast show on Radio 808 on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.The show promotes fundamental human rights, fights xenophobia, racism and religious intolerance.

More info: www.facebook.com/pg/seobanaroda



Zagreb, Croatia

Hillingdon Refugee Support Group (HRSG)

‘Hillingdon Refugee Support Group (HRSG) is a registered charity welcoming and providing care and practical support to young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees aged 16-21 years in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Beneficiaries will be separated from their families and a significant number will have experienced childhood trauma and have lived in areas of conflict. This includes those who have independent minors.

We offer a broad range of activities, both educational and social which are carefully designed to ensure that young people gain confidence and develop skills and friendships in a non-judgmental and non-threatening environment. The workshops and sessions are strictly structured and held on a weekly basis at different locations.’

Project goals:
‘The mission is to bring, hope, dignity, and empowerment to unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers aged 16-21 in Hillingdon. To work with individuals regardless of background, providing a welcome reception and both care and practical support in order to enhance their quality of life.’

‘To advance education and relieve financial hardship amongst those seeking asylum and those granted refugee status, primarily young people aged 16 – 21 residing in the London Borough of Hillingdon, in particular by the provision of:
a) food, clothing, basic living equipment, advice and support services; and
b) facilities for recreation or other leisure time occupation with the object of improving their conditions where they have need of such facilities by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, financial hardship or social and economic circumstances.
The purpose is to help them to advance in life and to assist them to adapt within a new community.
It also provides educational and recreational activities to enhance their quality of life and integration into the local community and strives to raise awareness in the wider community to ensure a positive presentation of asylum seekers and refugees.’


Project activities:
Main Activities / Services Provided:
Educational and structured recreational activities to enhance the quality of life and integration into the local community for young refugees and asylum seekers
Strive to raise awareness in the wider community to ensure a positive presentation of asylum seekers and refugees.
Weekly befriending service working with volunteers providing learning opportunities via structured activities.
Recruitment, training and coordination for volunteers.
Practical support of donations of food and clothing.
Daily one to one and group providing support to further assist young people with; volunteer placements; CV and letter writing; budgeting; referrals; English; Maths; emotional and miscellaneous support.
Weekly outreach services to hostels and supported accommodation.
Practical living skills; access to practical activities; outdoor activities; informal and formal education; training; drama; arts and crafts; creative reading and writing workshops

.All the activities provided are programmes designed to build confidence, provide safe opportunities for sharing and development of the young people and to enable their integration into British society. We achieve the above by means of a structured / planned and measured set of activities and workshops throughout the year.


Web site: www.hrsg.org.uk

London, UK

Intercultural Mentoring

Intercultural Mentoring supports kids with refugee and migration background in schools. The mentors have migration or refugee experiences and share those with the children. They attend classes in Vienna and St. Pölten once a week and they help them to study. Furthermore, the children can tell them about things that they are busy with – so the mentors become companions, friends and role models.


Interkulturelles Mentoring für Schulen (seit 2010)

Kulturelle und sprachliche Vielfalt ist heute in Klassenzimmern eher die Regel als die Ausnahme. Schüler/innen mit Migrationshintergrund profitieren dabei von der Vorbildwirkung und Begleitung durch Mentor/innen mit ähnlichem sprachlich-kulturellen Hintergrund. Daher bieten wir an Volks- und Mittelschulen in Wien und St. Pölten Interkulturelles Mentoring für Schulen an.

2011-iku-mentoringZiel ist, Schüler/innen mit Migrationshintergrund bei ihrer persönlichen und schulischen Entwicklung zu unterstützen. Studierende mit ähnlichem bikulturellen Hintergrund haben viel Erfahrung, die sozusagen “zur Verfügung gestellt” wird.

Im Oktober 2014 wurde das Projekt “Interkulturelles Mentoring für Schulen” mit dem erstmals vergebenen Preis “Wiener Mut – Vielfalt findet Stadt” ausgezeichnet (http://wienermut.at/).

Im Frühjahr/Sommer 2015 kooperiert das Projekt mit der Diversity-Kampagne “Vielfalt, ja bitte – Welcome Diversity!” des Interkulturellen Zentrums.

Gestartet wurde das Projekt 2010 gemeinsam mit Elif Öztürk. Derzeit arbeiten neben der Leiterin Susanne Binder auch Lena Weiderbauer, Dayana Parvanova und Ilija Kugler mit.

Ehemalige MitarbeiterInnen: Alina Natmessnig (April 2012 bis September 2014) und Eva Kössner (Jänner 2013 bis März 2015).

Kontakt: interkulturelles-mentoring@univie.ac.at

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interkulturellesmentoringuniwien

Durchgeführt mit Unterstützung des Instituts für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien. Dieses Projekt wird durch das Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres kofinanziert. Gefördert von der Initiative Vielfalter, der Universität Wien (ÖH), dem Büro für Diversität St. Pölten sowie der MA 17 Integration und Diversität.


Source: www.univie.ac.at


Vienna, Austria

Jesuit Refugee Service

Psychosocial assistance to refugees in Republic of Croatia

Project beneficiaries are potentially all refugees in Croatia. Part of the project is taking place in refugees’ shelters where initial contact is established but for the most part the project is being conducted with the people who already have granted international protection, who are granted housing and who are starting a normal life.

Specific drive of the project is the most successful and the least painful way of integrating refugees into Croatian society that begins with the arrival of the refugees into shelters where organizers of the project familiarize refugees with the project and start to develop an individual plan of integration for every single family.

Within this project, volunteers are visiting refugee families and providing them with everyday help and support in form of helping them making contact with local community. The project is innovative from local point of view as every refugee family has two volunteers supporting them but, globally, that kind of support is a common practice. The goal of the project is the most successful and the most comprehensive integration of refugees into Croatian society. Integration is carried out in several stages; basic integration includes knowledge of language in order to be able to communicate effectively followed by employment and education while the ultimate goal is creating their own social network.

Project activities include active participation of volunteers in integration of refugees in a way that every refugee family who have granted housing is assigned with two volunteers who are helping them in every aspect of everyday life (helping with homework, going to the certain events together, dealing with Croatian administration and bureaucracy). The main focus of these activities is both social and educational thereby the feedback of refugees is really important. With refugees being active participants of the project, JRS considers that they are working with them and not for them so there is mutual contribution to the integration.

The main accomplishment of the project is successful integration of entire families into Croatian society and activation of a great amount of women considering their employment.

Sarajevska cesta 41, Zagreb, Croatia

Magdas Hotel – run by refugees

Magdas Hotel in Vienna is run by refugees and tourism professionals. Magdas addresses the problem of labour market integration for refugees by providing refugees with training and employment in the hospitality sector. Because refugees have international backgrounds and can often speak multiple languages, they have an advantage when it comes to dealing with tourists and other travellers. The hotel also serves to bring together people with different international, social and cultural backgrounds: guests, neighbours, refugees, NGOs, etc. Magdas proactively promotes the idea of staying open-minded within the staff and to guests.

Magdas Hotel – lobby

Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption

Refugees encounter significant difficulties in finding employment in Austria. They often do not have the necessary certifications to continue their previous professions in a new country, and potential employers may be unwilling to hire refugees or find that they lack necessary experience. During the asylum procedure, which can be lengthy, asylum seekers might also lose previously acquired skills or their skills might become outdated. The result can be poverty and social isolation.

At the same time, there is a shortage of labour in the tourism industry. Magdas Hotel therefore works to solve both problems by providing on-the-job training in the hospitality industry to individuals entitled to asylum and subsidiary protection.

How does it work

The hotel has 88 rooms and employs roughly 20 migrants with refugee backgrounds (from over a dozen different countries) and 10 tourism professionals. The refugee staff work in the kitchen, bar, housekeeping and reception alongside the professionals and receive on-the-job training from the professionals. When refugee staff members become skilled enough to be considered ‘professionals’ themselves, Magdas encourages them to find work in another hotel or stay and become trainers for new staff. Magdas envisions that the typical refugee staff member will stay for about two years before moving on.

The hotel is open to the public for accommodations, events and meetings. Although the mission of the hotel is to promote the integration of refugees, it operates like a ‘normal’ hotel. The website of the hotel allows guests to make reservations. Rates for rooms start at around €67 per night, and there are several different types of rooms available, including suites and rooms that accommodate four or more guests. The hotel provides the services and accommodations that are typically expected: restaurant and bar, 24-hour reception, WiFi, bicycle rental, toiletries, meeting and event space, patio/garden space, etc. Through collaborations with designers and art students, the hotel has a stylish appearance despite its limited budget for decor.

Magdas Hotel – room


Occupancy rates at the hotel are about 70 percent. After two years of operations, the hotel was on track to break even financially (i.e. costs equal revenue). As of February 2018, around 100,000 guests have stayed in the hotel.

Other results of the hotel:

Employment for about 20 refugees and 10 professionals in the tourism industry;
Integration into the labour market for refugees with limited job opportunities. Their employment provides further economic stability through, for example, payment into the pension system;
Refugee staff members develop new skills and maintain existing skills;
The hotel serves as a model for the tourism industry, for which refugees are an exciting target group as employees;
The hotel serves as a model for the reuse and refurbishment of used furniture and decoration;
The project creates awareness that the skills of refugees enrich society.


Magdas has won numerous awards, both as a project to promote labour market integration for refugees and for its innovative design and decoration: MigAward, Trigos Award, Austrian State Prize for Design, Hospitality Innovation Award (presented by PFK hotelexperts), The Great Indoors Award (Netherlands).

As a hotel, Magdas is constantly evaluated by guests on booking and review websites.

Who will benefit?

Individuals with a refugee background are able to gain employment and training. The hotel also employs non-refugee staff. The hotel furthermore serves as a unique meeting point and place of exchange between refugees, the neighbouring community and hotel guests from all over the world.

Magdas Hotel – garden

Source of funding and Resources used

Funding for the hotel started with a €1.5 million loan from the parent charity Caritas and an additional €60,000-70,000 raised through crowd-funding. This was necessary in order to renovate and furnish the 88-room hotel, which was converted from a retirement home that had previously been run by Caritas. Renovation and design of the hotel required about 6-7 months and was managed by an architectural firm.

Due to the tight budget, the hotel required contributions in materials and equipment from contractors and suppliers, as well as assistance from local residents and refugees in building and preparing the hotel for opening (moving furniture, cleaning, etc.). The furniture and decoration for the hotel was ‘upcycled’—used furniture and decorative objects were refurbished and/or transformed.

Some staff training (basic training, intercultural training, etc.) is funded by magdas_Academy (another project of Caritas), which receives individual donations. The hotel generates ongoing revenue through room reservations, which start at around €67 per night, payment for food and beverages and rental of meeting and event space. The hotel staff are paid in accordance with industry standards, starting at about €20,000 per year for the least-qualified employees.

Web site Hotel Magdas: http://www.magdas.at/


Source: www.ec.europa.eu/


Wimbergergasse, 1070 Wien, Austria

Mentoring for Migrants

To support and promote integration, a joint initiative of the ÖIF (Austrian Integration Fund), the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, and the AMS job market service is providing mentors to migrants looking for a job in Austria.


The goal of “Mentoring for Migrants” is to bring together experienced individuals from the business world – mentors – and people from a migrant background – mentees – and help them become integrated into the Austrian labour market.


The time of the mentorship lasts about six months, while mentors offer the mentees assistance, advice, and valuable contacts
Application requirements to be a mentee in the programme other than having a migrant background include an apprenticeship certificate, high school diploma, or higher education, some German skills and other formal requests.


More information on “Mentoring for Migrants” is available at all ÖIF consulting centres: www.integrationsfonds.at/en/mentoring-for-migrants


Christiana Weidel
The World of NGOs



Minors Project (BHUMP)

A specific project, which is part of this is the Befriending Hillingdon Unaccompanied Minors Project (BHUMP):

BHUMP (Befriending Hillingdon Unaccompanied Minors Project), ‘a peer befriending project, was established in July 2005. Its purpose is to address the needs of vulnerable young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees in Hillingdon aged 16-21 whose lives have been affected by political violence and displacement and to aid them to overcome their difficulties and their personal development their lives and hence aid their integration into society.

BHUMP offers friendship, practical support and training to unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees in order to combat their isolation and aid integration in the community. It is a partnership with; London Borough of Hillingdon Social Services who provide referrals of young people. The partnerships with LBH is of great value, well established and enables us to jointly work to provide more ways of supporting asylum seekers and identify gaps in social welfare provision.

BHUMP provides Weekly Befriending Sessions with UASC, working with Volunteers. Young people are provided learning opportunities via structured activities to gain new skills enabling them to reach their full potential.’

‘The purpose of BHUMP is:
to provide a service for young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees aged between 16-21 years who are in receipt of statutory support from Education and Children’s Services, London Borough of Hillingdon
To help young people to overcome their difficulties and develop their lives and hence aid their integration into society.
To provide a supportive group environment
To promote inclusion through an awareness of local services and facilities.
To provide an integrated and cost effective service through working in partnership with other local organisations in Hillingdon.
to complement existing services provided by social services and other local voluntary organisations to empower young people to be able to meet their own needs within a supportive framework.’

‘Befriending is at the heart of what BHUMP stands for and is integral to creating a safe and comfortable environment for refugees and asylum seekers to explore their options and work towards positive futures. The majority of these young people have experienced trauma and persecution and it is BHUMP’S aim to support them through this most difficult period of their young lives.’

‘BHUMP aims to:
Empower young people to develop an improved support network, new skills and friendship in the community.
Lower the sense of isolation and alienation for young asylum seekers in Hillingdon and improve their integration into British society.
Young asylum seekers to have increased confidence and self-esteem enabling them to reach their full potential.
Increase young asylum seekers access to social and leisure opportunities and public services achieving a better degree of integration in the community.
Enhance the development of knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures
Provide support and training to young people involved at all project stages
Empower young people to make decisions, giving them meaningful choices and involving them at every stage of Project Planning.
To respond to needs and aims of young people to establish a long- term engagement which will be of outmost benefit to the young people, the local community and hence Britain as a whole.’

Further information on Befriending can be found here: http://www.hrsg.org.uk/index.php/befriending/

Another element of BHUMP is More than Words. At BHUMP they ‘use many media to help enable the young people to develop their own personal identity, sense of belonging and self worth. Arguably one of the finest mediums for this purpose is the written word. There is a collection of poems/essays, which give an insight into the personal thoughts and feelings of the individuals who penned them.’ It can be found here: http://www.hrsg.org.uk/index.php/more-than-words/


Web site: www.hrsg.org.uk

London, UK

Netzwerk Politik/atelier – Network politics/artist‘s workshop

Title: Netzwerk Politik/atelier – Network politics/artist‘s workshop

Project: Culture Slam, Culture Stage

Location: Bad Honnef

Short Description: Culture Slam: Participants from Syria, Eritrea, Niger and the Ivory Coast contributed texts about their flight or their new life in Germany. In the ensuing discussion the great interest of the audience in the experiences of the fugitives became clear.


Website: https://www.politikatelier.de/projekte/


Netzwerk politik|atelier e.V.

Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 13
53113 Bonn

Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 13, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Refugee Law Clinic

Title: Refugee Law Clinic

Location: Cologne

Short Description:

The Refugee Law Clinic is a project conducted by law students from Cologne which supports migrants, in particular refugees and asylum seekers. We offer pro bono legal and non-legal advice and other support, e.g. we accompany and give guidance to our clients when attending appointments at the border agency. To that end we collaborate with qualified lawyers and other charity organizations.

Website: http://lawcliniccologne.com/


Refugee Law Clinic Cologne e.V.

Körnerstraße 45

50823 Köln


Körnerstraße 45, 50823 Köln, Germany

Refugees Code

Refugees{code} offers refugees a program to develop coding and software development skills, free of charge. The program’s goal is to lead to job placements, create a perspective of self-determination, and lead to sustainable long-term integration through work and skills.

Web site: www.refugeescode.at


Vienna, Austria


RefugeeYouth is funded by a number of different charitable trusts and foundations. At present the core funding comes from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Land Aid, Comic Relief, The Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

They have also received project funding from The Barrow Cadbury Trust, Youth In Action, The Heritage Lottery Young Roots Fund, Harrow Council, John Lyons Charity, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund (Legacy Grant) and 500 for London.

RefugeeYouth is also supported by many individuals, groups, organisations and venues. These include: artists, facilitators, trainers, community leaders, academic institutions, charities, museums and entertainment venues.

Target audience/participants:
More than 400 members from 40 countries. They ‘also welcome young people who aren’t refugees, but want to stand under the RefugeeYouth banner because we’ve learned life is richer when we work together’.

Duration of the project:
Small national charity set up 14 years ago.

Specific drivers of the project:
Local needs identified by the community. Local needs identified by the community – Local refugee community leaders suggested using the Barbara Melunsky Fund to support the development of youth work in refugee communities, as this was an area they were struggling with.

Origins of the project (how it started and developed):
‘RefugeeYouth was founded as a charity in 2002. It grew out of the Barbara Melunsky Fund, which was set up in 1995, when Barbara died, by her friends and colleagues to continue her work with refugees. Barbara was a feisty activist who worked hard to support and promote refugee communities, especially in her role as Principal Grants Officer for the London Borough Grants Unit. She had also worked with children in Indochinese refugee camps in Thailand before settling in London in the 1980s.

Refugee community leaders suggested using the fund to support the development of youth work in refugee communities, as this was an area they were struggling with. So young people became one of the fund’s main priorities, and it partnered with the Evelyn Oldfield Unit and the Westminster Diocese Refugee Services to develop youth work training.

When trainees still struggled to get work placements, the partners commissioned research on how to get youth initiatives off the ground in refugee communities. The research, Out of Exile: developing youth work with young refugees, was published in 2000. It was supported by a series of development days, to bring together refugee community organisations, mainstream youth services and youth policy-makers.

These groups made suggestions for supporting refugee youth work – such as initiatives to bring young refugees together, and training to develop workers’ experience and expertise. So the young refugees asked them to: ‘go away and make something happen, then invite us back.’ The outcome was The Barbara Melunsky Refugee Youth Agency – in short, RefugeeYouth.’

‘RefugeeYouth has grown from our London base. We have a base in Leeds, and run events, workshops, research projects, and day and residential trips across the UK.’

Project description:
‘RefugeeYouth is a small national charity dedicated to overcoming isolation, alienation and despair among young refugees by supporting opportunities for their development, inclusion and integration.

Over the past 14 years, we have grown into a vibrant, creative hub of young people aged 16-30. Our members now live in the UK but originated from four continents and more than 40 countries.

We inspire and motivate each other. Have new experiences together. Develop networks of helpful agencies and professionals. And learn practical skills to become active as leaders within our communities. We use the creative arts and participatory action research [link] to connect with young people and help them explore the issues affecting them.’

Project goals:
Belonging and friendship
‘Our mission is to create an environment of friendship and inclusiveness in which young refugees gain strength and confidence, collectively and as individuals, through creative learning.

We aim to be a place where young people can test out their ideas, and receive the support and resources they need to work together to make positive change.

Our workshops and events include a range of activities, from poetry and painting to drama and film-making. As well as gaining new creative skills, young refugees also develop vital life skills such as confidence, decision-making, conflict resolution and leadership. This helps with their access to employment, education and training.

Unlike traditional research, participatory action research is conducted by and for the people it directly affects. It aims to produce change rather than reports. We use our knowledge from this research to work with service providers and policy makers whose work impacts on the lives of young refugees.

RefugeeYouth also aims to contribute to the wider dialogue around refuge and immigration, and challenge negative public and media opinions. We hope to strengthen the campaign for a just and fair asylum system that recognises refugees as human beings, valuing and upholding their human rights.’
Information on volunteers/staff etc:
Small number of staff based in London (Oval and Croydon) and Leeds. Also volunteers and student placements.

Project activities:
They run a range of different projects, including weekly youth groups, arts events, summer programmes, advocacy projects and research projects. All our activities offer opportunities for young people to take the lead.

‘APOW – Amazing People of the World – is our Croydon-based weekly workshop, run with local young people.

Refuge In Films is a space where young people can address issues of representation of refugees and migrants in media in their own voices.

Women’s Circle – Through activities such as drama, dance and sports, young women can gain new skills in a friendly and non-judgmental environment.

Arts Night – We run weekly creative skills workshops at our premises in Oval, London. Activities include music, dance, painting and film making.’

Ways in which young people are engaged:
Describes itself as ‘an organisation of young people rather than a service for young people’ and calls its young people ‘members’.

‘Self-empowerment is at the heart of RefugeeYouth. Young people inspire and support each other to lead their own projects, youth groups and activities, to improve their own lives and those of their peers.

Decision-making is open and shared. Our young refugees run RefugeeYouth with the support of our group of trustees and small team of paid workers and volunteers.

We also work with practitioners and reflect back to them how the services they provide are experienced. We are regularly invited to run workshops and presentations at conferences in universities. Our methods include theatre, role play, games, debate, discussion and films.’


Web site: www.refugeeyouth.org

London, UK

Startanimatorcursus by Tumult

Belgian youth and peace organisation Tumult organizes a course for youths who are new to Belgium and are interested in becoming a volunteer youth camp counselor. In a playfull and active manner the youngsters are taught about creating and exlaining games, basic SPR and rewarding and appropriate punishment. When you have completed the course, you can join Tumult or another organisation on camp and the year after you can follow the course to become a volunteer youth camp counselor. This course is the ideal starting point of finding your way in Begian youth work.

Is this course something for you? 

  • You like to be active in your leisure time
  • You like children
  • You enjoy meeting new people
  • you don’t shy away from responsibility 
  • You would like to volunteer for a youth organisation
  • You don’t speak Dutch language very well yet and you would like to learn different games
  • in 2018 you will become 16 years old or older

Would you like to know more?

Go to www.tumult.be


Brusselsepoortstraat 8, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Students for refugees

Students for refugees (Studenti za izbjeglice)

Students for refugees is an initiative that educates and connects volunteers with civil society actors in order to work with refugees.


More info: www.facebook.com/studentizaizbjeglice/


Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The football club “Zagreb 041”

The football club “Zagreb 041” was formed in 2014, and formally registered as a citizen’s association on February 19th, 2015. Zagreb 041 works and integrates refugees and asylum seekers in Zagreb, Croatia through the uniting power of sport, all the while promoting anti-racist and anti-fascist values and facilitating the integration of these newest members into Croatian society. The club currently has around one hundred members, who are organized in a non-hierarchical, horizontal manner and who participate equally in decision-making and the club’s activities. The club has a senior men’s team, a senior women’s team, as well as a children’s team. Players are a combination of Croatian nationals and refugees and asylum seekers. It is also one of only a few clubs in Croatia with a very active women’s team.

The goal of Zagreb 041 is to bring football back into the hands of ordinary people and fans, and become the first local community football club with a direct democratic organizational model. The club fights against corruption and clientism at all levels, as well as all forms of discrimination. Their message is that football is a sport of solidarity, quality competition, respect for one’s opponent and the love for a sport so many around the world share.

For the club, promoting the direct engagement of migrants, improving their sense of security and integration is a priority and reflects the values the club wants to see in sport and in society. They believe that the integration of migrants is a two way street so that while migrants are responsible for adapting to the values and norms of their host country, the hosts have a responsibility to welcome, support and offer a helping hand to newcomers in their land.

These practices are in stark contrast to local and regional authorities in Croatia who often neglect to participate in the integration of migrants. Zagreb 041 hopes that it can encourage and inspire local authorities and communities, as well as other sports clubs to actively participate in creating an atmosphere of inclusion for refugees, and a society of inclusion, free of racism and xenophobia- for all.


More info: www.nkzagreb041.hr


Cesarićeva slapa 12, Zagreb, Croatia

The Young Perspective in Europe

What can we learn from each other? The perspective of young people in Europe is presented in FutureLab Europe, a project of the European Alliance for Democratic Citizenship, operated by the European Policy Centre. In April 2015 in the frame of the project a report looked at the practices of the European Integration Fund in four Member States (Finland, Germany, Romania, and Spain, to cover Northern, Continental, Eastern and Southern Europe) and assessed the integration of migrants in the EU.

Looking at the findings of the report, the policy recommendations to NGOs are still very valuable advices today:
(1) Organise more culture and art projects to promote integration in a friendly setting;
(2) Involve migrants as project leaders to take advantage of their understanding of the culture of the country of origin and the host country in question;
(3) Exchange best practices with other NGOs so that they can learn from each other to maximise efficiency.
The project HAFH is following precisely these three suggestions – looking at best practices how integration is taking place and exchanging insights about the specific role young people play in integration.

Source: Creating a common European future: Integration of young migrants in Europe. FutureLab Europe, April 2015 https://futurelabeurope.eu

Brussels, Belgium

Über den Tellerrand

Title: Über den Tellerrand e.V.

Location: Berlin, Germany


Short Description:

Kitchen Hub
The Kitchen Hub is home from the outside, in the middle of the Red Island in Berlin-Schöneberg.
With the Kitchen Hub, we create a place of encounter and exchange between the fugitives and the homeless – here we cook, work, think and spend time together. The Kitchen Hub makes cultural diversity tangible: it offers people the opportunity in a neutral space to learn from prejudices and medial images and to experience new cultures together.
The Kitchen Hub was planned and realized in an intercultural team of refugees, students and teachers in close cooperation with the Habitat Unit of the Technische Universität Berlin and CoCoon Studio.





Über den Tellerrand e.V.

Roßbachstr. 6

10829 Berlin


Roßbachstraße 6, 10829 Berlin, Germany

Volunteer Center Osijek

A human response to the refugee crisis


The Osijek Volunteer Center has been actively involved in providing support to refugees and migrants since the first humanitarian crisis in Croatia. The engagement consisted of organizing volunteers, distributing humanitarian aid and raising awareness of the importance of solidarity and humanity in crisis situations.


From Tovarnika, across Opatovac, to Slavonski Brod, daily in three shifts, volunteers shared food, shoes, clothes, blankets and hygiene supplies. They were expecting refugees at the camp entrance, providing social support through the conversation, and assisting other field-based organizations.


With the financial support of CARE International, the most needed food and hygiene supplies were provided. and with the help of volunteers, packed and distributed 13,069 packages. Apart from the food package, there were also blankets, thermo foil, winter caps and gloves, canvas bags, raincoats … There were 165 volunteers, 1 216 individual volunteers, 13 409 volunteer hours in these 7 months!


Following the closure of the Winter Reception and Transit Center in Slavonski Brod, the Volunteer Center of Osijek, all its strength is directed towards participation in the provision of social support to refugees and migrants found in the territory of the Republic of Croatia who are currently accommodated in the Asylum Seekers’ Center in Kutina.


In the process of facilitating their stay in the Asylum Seekers’ Center in Kutina, providing the necessary content and support in supplementing their free time, as well as adapting to the new cultural environment they found, volunteers are of paramount importance.


Creative workshops with women and children, computer science, cooking, sports activities, teaching English and Croatian, and providing social support through talking and socializing, are just some of the activities that they carry out.


Humanity, selflessness, solidarity, human destiny, new friendships through giving hands to people without home. The Volunteer Center in Osijek has shown that there is human response to the crisis, that there is a different way, different from isolation and wire, which is opening the heart and providing the help of hands.



Ulica Stjepana Radića 16, 31000, Osijek, Croatia

Young refugees: getting ready for gastronomy

About 30 unaccompanied minor refugees are getting prepared in the Austrian city of Korneuburg to start an apprenticeship in the gastronomy sector. The project “Talents for Lower Austria” is now searching for restaurants at regional level willing to take on the youngsters.


The project originally started 2015 in Trofaiach in Styria where for the first time in Austria 30 unaccompanied minors found home and an opportunity to learn a profession at the same time. Now, the project is moving to other regions, combining the offer for young refugees to get a job with the offer for industry branches lacking trained work forces.



In Korneuburg refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and Somalia are taken care of by a pedagogic team, learning the German language, getting general knowledge and especially education what to know to work in a restaurant. A great way of integration!

Photo credit: Fotolia Andrey Popov


Korneuburg, Austria

Youth College for refugees

Migration policy lies at the core of European integration. Each city can support and promote integration in its own way. The City of Vienna set up The Youth College in September 2016 with the motto “1,000 opportunities for 1,000 young people”. It is an educational offer for young people from 15 to 21 years of age, offering 1,000 course places in two locations to help young people prepare for secondary schools, vocational training or a permanent job.

The project is funded with € 6 million annually, about half of which is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the other half by the Municipal Department of Vienna for Integration and Diversity, the Public Employment Service Vienna and the Vienna Social Welfare Fund.

What is interesting for us: A team of nine partners runs the Youth College in two locations in Vienna, led by the Wiener Volkshochschulen. Partners are e.g. the WUK (Association for the Creation of Open Culture and Workshop Houses), Caritas, Integrationshaus and other youth oriented organisations. This kind of close partnership of NGOs to foster integration of young refugees is really a success story for our project HAFH and we hope many more NGOs will get together and take this project as a role model.

More information: www.wien.gv.at/english/social/integration/start-wien/youth-college.html



Christiana Weidel
The World of NGOs

Vienna, Austria

location_on“Breaking Barriers”

1 Mark Square, London EC2A 4EG, UK


Kniprodestraße 97, 10407 Berlin, Germany

location_on“Young Roots”

Cornerstone House, 14 Willis Road, Croydon CR0 2XX, UK