The European Students’ Union is looking for projects that empower “positive refugee-host interactions” all over Europe. The small-grants programme is called ‘Together Moving Forward’ and was launched in 2016. University students and refugees can work together to create changes in the system in the name of better community inclusion practices.
The project’s main aim is to promote initiatives that “kick-start valuable and viable actions in Europe that tackle the main barriers limiting the access and inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in education and society.” (The European Students’ Union)
The call for projects is still open until 28 February 2019.
“Maria Zlonkiewicz is coordinator of one of these projects in Poland, the ‘Students for refugee kids’. She explains that without the support of ESU and the ‘Together, Moving, Foward’ project, it would have not been possible to develop the project: “the support is really important, we are having regular evaluation meetings. They (the volunteers) have access to psychologists, my support as a coordinator, cultural mentors and they have access to funds to do integration meetings with the kids, to buy materials for their classes, etc.”
She adds that the most beautiful moments are: “when you see they build some relationships between the volunteer, the kid and the family”. In the same way, Natalia Kur, a volunteer participating in the Polish project says: “I help with many different things and I feel I am a member of the family”.
Another project from the past edition is SHAMS, a Berlin-based initiative led by refugee students aiming to provide information to other refugees and asylum seekers who want to access the Higher Education system in Germany: procedures, documentation and the different opportunities they can apply for.
Izem Günyakti, one of the initiators of the project highlights the importance that ESU and ‘Together, Moving Forward’ grant had in developing the project: “ESU’s funding was perfect for us and we also learnt a lot on how to make a project and how to apply and (ESU) was really helpful in that process”.