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By Monisha.pushparaj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Europe is nowadays undergoing one of the most important crisis when it comes to migratory flows. People from different countries and cultures are forced to leave their homes searching for a better and safer place to live. At the same time, economic crisis is also affecting many European adults who have to face great difficulties to find a job and earn a decent living. In some cases, this critical situation brings about a feeling of rejection towards these newcomers who are trying to improve their life conditions and might cause social conflicts. For this reason, this project is mainly addressed to these two target groups: 1. Syrian refugees or other migrants and 2. national adult students. We have set three main objectives that are closely interrelated. Firstly, we intend to contribute to the effective integration of refugees and other immigrants in our society by the production of practical information and educational material in different audio-visual and digital formats (videos, digital magazines, infographs, etc.) that will facilitate the inclusion of the newcomers. We must be ready to integrate all these people that are in a very vulnerable situation. These materials will be created by our local students (Latvian, Lithuanian, Italian and Spanish students) who will learn about the situation of refugees and other migrants and will be able to understand the difficulties that they are facing. At the same time, by creating the information and educational materials, students will also learn more about the resources in their own cities and the characteristics of their own cultures. Immigrant students in our schools will also collaborate in the tasks and will provide first-hand information about their needs. This will also contribute to the creation of an atmosphere of mutual understanding. Secondly, by the production of these materials, students will develop a variety of competences that will contribute to their training for their incorporation to the labour market. (Communication Competence in local language and in English, Digital Competence, Social Competence, etc). Thirdly, the use of ICT, team work and other innovative methods will foster the motivation of students and will prevent school leaving and failure.
For the implementation of the project, we have designed a variety of activities organised in four stages:
Stage 1. Students awareness-raising activities: With the help of professionals from NGOs such as ACNUR, Amnesty International and others, we will organise a number of activities in all the partners institutions to raise awareness and understanding about the difficult situation of immigrants in our society. (Posters exhibitions, seminars, films, etc.)
Stage 2. Creation of practical material to achieve the integration of the newcomers: There will be two kinds of materials: A: language learning materials and B: practical information materials (city registration process, job search techniques, accommodation search, transport, Health Services available, access to education, etc.). These materials will be created by students with the help of their teachers using ICT by means of a multidisciplinary task- based learning approach. The techniques used will vary according to the knowledge and expertise of each institution. (Digital graphics, digital magazines, video-based language teaching units, visual information materials, etc.)
Stage 3. Implementation of methods learnt from the partners: The collaboration among international partners will be an added value in the project, since we all have experience in dealing with immigrant students but each of us use different methods. It is well known that each country, according to their own characteristics, previous history and previous experience is dealing with refugees and immigrants in different ways. Partners will attend three joint transnational training events in which each institution will teach the others the methods and techniques they have used to produce the information and educational materials in the previous stage. After that, each partner will implement one or more of these methods in their own institution. A blog or web-page will be created in each country to store all the materials and to make them available to other people.
Stage 4. Dissemination of materials: Each partner will organise dissemination events to present the materials to NGOs and other institutions in charge of the integration of refugees and immigrants. This collaboration with other institutions will contribute to make our schools more visible in our society and will help us extend the scope of action.
To sum up, we can say that, thanks to the collaboration and exchange of experiences among partners, this project will bring about important improvements in the life conditions of a variety of groups (refugees, immigrants and local students) and will enhance the quality of the work of teachers and NGOs workers.