Good practices

TALK WITH ME - Voluntary language mentors for young refugees

TALK WITH ME - Voluntary language mentors for young refugees

The overall aim of this project is to improve the integration of refugees in different European countries and to support volunteers who are working with refugees across Europe. The project created an easy-to-multiply framework that could be used in various projects in order to facilitate the integration of refugees in the hosting communities.

The project created a context where people with different backgrounds, locals and refugees, get to meet and start to develop a relationship with one another. An unconventional language course was developed that allowed young people to really connect, share their experiences and explore each other’s culture, providing a comfortable environment for this purpose.

Year(s): 2015-2018

Target group(s): Volunteer organizations, young voluntary language mentors , migrants

Website or other online channels: https://voluntary-mentors.eu/

Methodology

The project designed a volunteer programme, lasting 10 weeks, implying 10 meeting, for local young people, in which they participate as language mentors for refugees their own age. Each volunteer is matched with a refugee and they meet in pairs and discuss different topics each week, for approximately one hour. Both the volunteers and the refugees benefit from trainings before beginning the programme, during which they are prepared, on one hand for the work they are supposed to do and, on the other, for intercultural learning.

Type of product

Online resource Course / Training

Brief description of the outcomes

To further improve the training and support for the volunteers involved in the programme, the partners produced a number of project manuals in English, German, Bulgarian and Romanian. These manuals are freely accessible on this website and they are meant to help other organisations who would like to set up their own language mentoring programmes.

The final products are available for download here: https://voluntary-mentors.eu/documents/

The project developed a manual called “Talk with me – Project Guideline” which is structured in 7 sections that are designed to offer any willing organization the guidelines for implementing a similar volunteer programme successfully and efficiently. The sections include guidelines and techniques for work with refugees:

  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Orientation and training for volunteers
  • Recruiting refugees
  • Orientation and training for refugees
  • Introduction and matching session
  • Implementing the 10 meetings
  • Project management

The document is available for download here: https://voluntary-mentors.eu/wp-content/uploads/ErasmusTALK_Project_Manual_2018-03-05.pdf  

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

The German organisation “Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa e. V.” (short: GLL) has developed a good practice model that addresses the challenge of language learning. It has set up a successful volunteer language mentor programme for young refugees: trained volunteers help refugees on a one-to-one, face-to-face basis to learn the language and to understand the culture of their new home. Additionally, GLL has developed some easy-to-use learning and teaching material for volunteer mentors.

For the “Talk with me” project, the German partners transferred this successful volunteer programme to Bulgaria and Romania, and together, the partner organisations adjusted the programme to the circumstances in their respective countries.

As this programme is easy to implement and requires small financial resources, other organisations can be inspired and encouraged to realise similar projects. This programme will lead to friendships between young locals and young refugees. This is the key to integration: to be able to speak the local language, to have someone to talk to, and to be connected within the local community.

Promoter of the initiative: Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa e. V. (Germany); Tulip Foundation (Bulgarian partner)

Country: Bulgaria Germany Romania

Languages available: Bulgarian Romanian German

Website or other online channels: www.tulipfoundation.net

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