In 2015 more than a million people entered Germany seeking asylum. Many had made the treacherous journey from their home countries in the Middle East crossing as many as nine borders and a dangerous sea crossing, to escape countries torn by war.
The large numbers of arrivals, some days up to 10,000 people arriving in Munich train station, meant that the integration of so many people became a massive challenge for the German government.
Shai Fund responded and started to work in schools and community centers to help with the integration of many of the unaccompanied minors.
MY SPACE: Co-integration Project for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Children
This project brings together expressive therapists, artists and volunteers to integrate primary school children in their classrooms. It provides workshops of expressive artworks (art, music and dance movement) in order to overcome language and create cultural spaces for co-integration. The workshops are conducted in the children’s natural learning environment to enhance the integration into the school community.
Expressive arts therapists teach practical tools along with a theoretical background on refugee trauma, communication barriers and methods of individual and group work in preparation for the workshops to be held at the schools.
Positive group dynamics during the workshops are a major goal in relation to the expression and support of each child, but also developing tools for dealing with friction and conflict. These are addressed within the group by jointly devising a suitable solution through mutual support and honest open responses that deal with exercising self-confidence and self-assertion. These tools are suited for facilitating emotional expression, treating trauma and PTSD symptoms, preventing PTSD and developing resilience and enhancing coping abilities.
Integration of Yezidi Community in Munich: Women and Youth Empowerment
This project benefits the integration of the Yezidi refugees and asylum seeker community in Munich. This project consists of two components that have been identified as vulnerable by the community; it focuses on the language training of women in German and activities for youth at risk.
The community has over 100 families using the community center. The center assists and helps to integrate new arrivals that have fled the horrors of the Islamic State to integrate into the community and in turn into Bavaria. The Yezidi community itself participated in this process and through this participation identified the areas they required further assistance in order to aid integration and social cohesion in Bavaria.
Shai Fund has assisted the community with ongoing German language courses for women, and kitted out a girls and boys soccer team, as well as cultural dance costumes for the community.
Emergency Relief: Aiding Unaccompanied Minor Children
Shai Fund assists local municipalities with aid items to help unaccompanied minors that enter Germany. Items consist of language books, sporting equipment and other items like travel cards.