A RIGHT TO EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH A REFUGEE BACKGROUND: NOW!

Children act as mentors for newcomers. Photo: One Square Kilometer of Education, Neubrandenburg - Thomas Kunsch Children act as mentors for newcomers. Photo: One Square Kilometer of Education, Neubrandenburg - Thomas Kunsch

Refugee children and young people will in Germany have to wait for up to six months for a place in school – despite compulsory schooling and the right to education. Child day care centers, schools and extracurricular educational facilities are not yet adequately prepared in terms of providing proper support for the children and young people so they can integrate and learn right from the very first day. But it’s precisely these that can be central locations for the children to feel safe and welcome. Here, they experience a sense of community, and learn a new language.

At the beginning of 2015, the Freudenberg Foundation accordingly set up the INITIATIVE “A Right to Education for Children with a Refugee Background: NOW!” It is tasked with ensuring that refugee children and young people, irrespective of where they come from and how long they will be staying, can swiftly attend a child day care center or a school and find appropriately qualified support there. In an expertise, the INITIATIVE describes what is needed and puts forward an action plan.

In child day care centers and schools, children experience a sense of community. Photo: One Square Kilometer of Education, Herten-South - Gerd Kuhlke In child day care centers and schools, children experience a sense of community. Photo: One Square Kilometer of Education, Herten-South - Gerd Kuhlke

Our eponymous pilot program was triggered by a requested survey from our long-standing partners. Since May 2015, a total of 17 pilot projects have been launched nationwide. Educational curricula are being developed for different age-groups in child day care centers, school, reception centers and in companies. Even though the immediate focus is on short-term support for the children and young people, our goal is to make sure that the educational institutions involved are fit for purpose in the thrust for lasting integration of the children and young people with refugee backgrounds involved.

Our nationwide pilot projects are locally integrated into long-term structures, e.g. in the One Square Kilometer of Education key program or in the Weinheim Education Chain.