Empowerment and participation are key elements of CORE. Therefore, the project aims to invite refugees to be trained and become refugee peers. They are best qualified to support and mentor their fellow refugees through the early integration process.
Mentoring for Refugees
The Main Urban Authority – in collaboration with the other project partners – recruits and trains refugee peers within the project. Based on the needs identified together with various stakeholders, the main focus groups for the first round of training refugee peers have been identified: youth and young women/mothers. In close cooperation with various institutions, youth peers have been recruited: 20 youth peers are already part of the program. Now the focus is put on finding more female youth peers. As soon as the peer group is complete, workshops for the participants will take place in order to get to know each other. Moreover, a training curriculum is being developed. The refugee peers will soon be starting their training and are expected to receive the certificates for trained peers in June. In addition, the Main Urban Authority is also developing so-called “welcome-modules” for young refugees. Together with experienced institutions, workshops covering topics like gender and social skills are being designed.
To address the specific needs of young women/mothers, women with a medical background are also being recruited to become peers. So far, 11 very committed women with various medical backgrounds are already part of the program. A meeting between all concerned parties in order to clarify needs and resources as well as a get together of all participating women and the development of a curriculum will follow soon.
Competences for the labour market
Another important key element of CORE is to support a quick integration into the labour market and into the education system. Therefore, as a main instrument, a cross-institutional database is being developed. With this database, a comprehensive survey of individual competences and professional experiences starting from “day 1” combined with the elaboration of individual career development plans will be possible. The Vienna Social Fund– together with relevant stakeholders – has already defined the specifications of this database and has started its development.
At the same time, the recruitment and placement of refugees in non-profit or public service work is proceeding. In order to facilitate the access of refugee teachers to the educational system, the Vienna Board of Education – European Office has already started to develop special trainings for refugee teachers.
Empowerment for Entrepreneurship
Refugees are an important pool of possible entrepreneurs. As refugees can face specific legal, cultural and linguistic obstacles, it is important to support them with free service and advice. Self-employment can be very promising, but at the same time it can also be very challenging due to the existing legal framework: Many refugees, who try to start their own businesses, do not know the legal and financial risks of becoming self-employed in Austria. The Vienna Business Agency aims to reach this target group. In collaboration with the Vienna Social Fund and various stakeholders, a first group of persons who want to take part in workshops for potential entrepreneurs has already been identified. Currently, information modules for potential entrepreneurs are being developed.
Shared facilities for CORE
CORE will provide shared facilities as office and co-working places, meeting and event space and addresses NGOs, civil society initiatives, communities and refugees in need of space for their own activities. A first draft room plan of the facility based on the different needs of the project partners as well as initiatives in the field of refugee work and the refugees themselves has been drawn up. This draft will serve as a basis for the adaptation and equipping of the facility.
Needs of volunteers
Last but not least, volunteers in the field of refugee work need support as well. Therefore, CORE develops dedicated training and information concepts for volunteers working with refugees. As a first step, the needs for advanced training amongst volunteers have been assessed. The results: volunteers are interested in trainings regarding topics like traumatisation, radicalisation and language teaching. As a consequence, information workshops in these fields will be developed.
Author: CORE Project Team