Programs of work with migrants
Particular aid for migrant and refugee families and individuals
Diaconia cooperates with migrant and refugee families and individuals who found their new home in Czech Republic. Often, they are single mothers with children or those with a problem with residence status and resulting numerous problems, whether financial or work-related. We provide material aid, but also assistance with dealing with authorities, schools, doctors, job search, and accommodation. Thereat, we use the network of our evangelical congregations or the Diaconia ECCB Centres.
Our assistance aims to help the families to become independent as soon as possible, to help the parents to obtain a job and provide for the family.
Organization of the sewing workshop in the Detention Facility for Foreigners in Bělá pod Bezdězem
For already eleven years, we run a sewing workshop in the Detention Facility for Foreigners of the Ministry of Interior of Czech Rep. (so-called detention). There are detained so-called illegal migrants, or refugees who are crossing our country on their way further on and who do not have entry visas and their papers in order. They are perceived as illegal migrants as well. The workshop operating depends on the needs of the clients and the facility.
Majority of the clients are women, although there is a couple of sewing men, too.
Mostly we are making over clothes that the clients got from a charity wardrobe. Every now and then we encounter an experienced seamstress who can make their own clothes.
Through the free time well spent and maintaining of the working habits, we try to prevent depression and helplessness that often accompanies the stay in suchlike facility.
This service is paid by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Rep., however, it does not cover (with exceptions) the sewing material nor the repairs and maintenance of the sewing machines. Therefore, we would welcome contributions such as larger pieces of fabric, threads, needles, zippers, and other sewing material.
Integration of the refugees into the local communities with participation of the evangelical congregations and the Diaconia Centres – Project DOOR (beginning of the project – September 2016)
Project DOOR offers a comprehensive programme that helps the asylum seekers and domestics to get to know each other and to get used to live next to each other. It aims to prevent social exclusion, creating ghettos, and other problems.
In the course of three years, we will support up to 120 asylum seekers or persons with subsidiary protection in their integration in the local communities. Our workers will provide assistance (help with finding work, solving any problems at school, helping with negotiating with the authorities, etc.) to the asylum seekers in six regions. No less important part of the project will be integration into local communities with the help of trained volunteers. We want to make possible for the asylum seekers to participate in various activities in congregations that connect people from different generations, and that would help the newcomers to establish close, informal relationships with Czechs. Since the asylum seekers often come from different cultures and they have different values, the project will also offer discussions on important topics, such as gender equality or tolerance towards different religions. Herein we count on the active participation of the members of (not only) evangelical congregations. The project will be based on this already existing network, but it is not focused only on the members of the evangelical church; it wants to make use of contacts with local citizens, members of local government, non-governmental organizations and all others who will be willing to join.
In Prague we implement project DOOR in Prague, funded by German churches (HEKS, Kirchen helfen Kirchen).
The DOOR project builds on the long-standing Diakonia project Be a neighbour, wherein we also made use of the cooperation with the evangelical congregations in integration of the migrants to the society, when looking for new “neighbours”.
Project DOOR in Prague
The aim of the project DOOR in Prague is to help 5 families who were granted international protection in the Czech Republic with better integration in the Czech society and the local community. We provide support and try to enable to establish social contacts amongst the newcomers and the major society in their new homes.
We also want to make possible for Czechs to get a personal experience with people who are seeking refuge in our country, and thus reduce the undesirable tendencies aimed against those people.
Building up a network of volunteers for work with refugees
During our work with migrants, we always relied on the help of volunteers, whether from Prague or outside Prague churches. So far, though, we did not have a chance to build an extensive volunteers’ network, the cooperation was more or less occasional. With the start of the DOOR project, however, we offer potential volunteers a training to work with refugees; part of which will be an intensive training in social and legal issues, intercultural skills, and a work experience in some of the refugee facilities abroad.
Apart from the volunteers training in Czechia, we also helped in refugee facilities in Germany. We followed two objectives - first of all, we wanted to offer a helping hand to German refugee organizations, secondly, to enable Czech volunteers to get acquainted and to participate actively in helping refugees, to get a practice that they can apply in our country.
Thus, in spring last year, students of Jabok could practise the work with refugees in a refugee camp in Weiden, Germany, and in August there were 9 young volunteers providing leisure activities for children.
Assistance to the evangelical churches in integration of refugees
We participate in meetings and discussions in churches that are interested in the migration and refugee question. If there are some congregations or groups that want to actively participate in helping the refugees or to take care directly for some of the refugee families, we provide relevant information in this area. We also mediate meetings with people who work with the refugees directly and who can cooperate further with the churches on the integration.
Alena Fendrychová, coordinator for work with migrants and refugees, September 2016