“School out of a box.”

Syrian refugee children © dpa

Children’s charity World Vision helps worldwide through development projects. Now the organization wants to help refugee children in Germany. Project manager Corinna Blume describes the reasons in an interview on Friday.

CBA: They want to apply a concept for the care of refugee children in Germany, which has so far only been used in disaster situations outside Germany. What is special about your concept?

Corinna Blume: We have developed a set of eight boxes that contain everything needed to provide educational child and youth care: Craft materials, learning materials, games, musical instruments, ball games and much more. We can get started with this right away. The material is designed to be culturally sensitive; for example, out of consideration for Muslims, there are no illustrations of pork on plates. And kids don’t have to know a specific language to participate. Caregivers and volunteers are also trained by us to address the needs of children in a crisis situation.

CBA: Where and how has your concept proven successful?

Corinna Blume: World Vision has been using the materials to set up children’s centers around the world for years, especially in large refugee camps. The big problem for children there is: there is a lack of security, parents’ worries dominate everyday life, there is a lack of toys, a lack of creative freedom. Our offer gives children the opportunity to play and also to learn. Children can develop, feel safe. A contact person is available in case of anxiety.
CBA: What can your concept do that other forms of care can’t??
Corinna Blume: We can help children of all ages, from toddlers to 18-year-olds. We combine the Children’s Center with other projects, in Oberursel, for example, with a Welcome Center, where German courses are offered, where there is a clothing store and where volunteers get involved. It is an established meeting place.Adults here can keep in touch with relatives back home via wi-fi. And the children are taken care of in the meantime.

CBA: Why do you ame that these experiences are transferable to Germany?

Corinna Blume: The situation of refugees is very difficult. In the initial reception facilities, refugees often wait a long time to be registered, often for varying lengths of time, without it being clear why. People live together in a very confined space. There is uncertainty: When will I be sent on and where?? In this situation we offer a retreat.
CBA: Why did you choose Oberursel – a tranquil Taunus town just outside Frankfurt?

Corinna Blume: While more refugees arrive in large cities like Frankfurt than in small and rural ones. But there are also significantly more offers of help. In the Taunus, for example, where Oberursel is located, there are not so many organizations active and the distances are longer. The city has asked us for help. The coordination works well. We are also working closely with the parishes and Caritas.

CBA: How can your concept improve the situation of refugees in Oberursel??

Corinna Blume: It helps young people structure their days, get to know the culture, language and environment. We prepare younger children for kindergarten or school, teach them language skills and expectations.

CBA: Do you plan to apply the concept in other German communities, and how quickly can that happen??

Corinna Blume: We plan to expand the project. We are in talks with large reception centers, for example in Darmstadt and in Giessen. But the need is greater than our capacity. We are therefore working to help refugee children in smaller institutions as well. We want to reach them with a play mobile that drives to the locations. This way we could cover a larger area.

Jonas Krumbein

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