Network I Supporting the social and vocational integration of asylum-seekers.
Project name Education for Integration – Partnership for Refugees
Project number I0503

Project description

The Development Partnership is planning to work out and test a model of information provided to asylum seekers with a view in supporting their social and occupational integration. This will be a comprehensive information/motivational model, up-to-date in terms of contents (information on Poland's legislative framework, social environment and culture to enhance reciprocal communication) and communication methods (the written word supported by lectures, briefing and classroom sessions, benefiting from direct support provided by volunteers participating in the Project). The programme is targeted at pre-integration as the first step towards integration following the granting of the refugee status or a permit to stay in Poland. Pre-integration is to be achieved throughout the asylum request processing stage, enabling to use that period effectively, so that upon the granting of refugee or tolerated stay status, the beneficiaries are able to start unassisted life and fully integrate with the society.

The Development Partnership's activities will primarily focus on enhancing legal and social awareness of refugees at the earliest stage of their stay in Poland. New knowledge and legal assistance is expected to encourage cooperative attitudes and activity of the refugees, so that they are fully aware of their rights and obligations and able to shape their social and occupational future, while adjusting their existing skills and acquiring new ones.

The Partnership is equally interested in providing asylum seekers with a set of information about Poland's social and cultural environment, its traditions and everyday life aspects in the perspective of European integration. This is intended to facilitate social integration of refugees and prevent problems or misunderstandings that may potentially arise from cultural differences, while eliminating concerns or alienation leading to marginalization and discrimination. The scope of information provided to asylum seekers will also include labour market details, available job seeking and employment openings, education, health care and welfare assistance opportunities, so that the beneficiaries are able in the future to take advantage of all opportunities, while minimizing the burden to the state.

All the beneficiaries will be given a package of information materials in the form of a binder. The legal block of the Project will be attended by approximately 1,000 people, while about 600 of them will participate in the block of information about Poland. It will involve five series of informational sessions delivered over a period of 18 months. Each series will be attended by about 30 persons and approximately 120 beneficiaries will take Polish language courses. The Project is targeted at asylum seekers over 17 years old.

The EDI educational model will be the key outcome of the Partnership's efforts. It will consist of an informational package for asylum seekers and a training set for volunteers working with them. The package will include information about Poland's history, geography, culture, social life, legislative and political system, selected issues of European integration, the rules of employment and business activity, basic labour rights, job seeking methods, as well as the issues associated with reconciliation of career and family life. In addition, the recipients will learn about government assistance available to them, asylum procedures and legal aspects of the refugee/tolerated stay status, educational system, social and health care systems prevailing in Poland. The package will also include basics of Polish grammar and vocabulary associated with the issues in question. The text will be in Polish and Russian language, which is currently frequently used by asylum seekers in Poland.

The training set for volunteers will complement the package intended for asylum seekers. It will include recommendations on the most effective methods of work with foreign learners, considering mental, social and cultural issues, as well as illustrative scenarios of sessions for larger groups of asylum seekers.

The product of the Project may be used by public bodies and institutions involved in asylum procedure, welfare assistance, labour market support, ensuring equal opportunities, etc., as well as by non-government institutions and organisations (foundations, associations, etc.) providing support to asylum seekers, especially those using the services of volunteer workers. Also higher schools and educational institutions for social workers and public servants may well include the subjects elaborated under the Project into their teaching curricula.