This week is Refugee Focus Week at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam. Every day, we are publishing articles that highlight different migration focused initiatives that fall in line with the evening in-house programs that also focus on this theme.
[HOME] is an organization that fights for human rights through different projects. Their three main projects are INGA, the Buddy project and Openschoool. The [HOME] team consists of a group of educated psychologists.
INGA stands for ‘Initiative Gesundheit für Alle’, or ‘Initiative health for all’. The initiative is carried out by a group of doctors that focuses on the mental and physical health of young refugees. The initiative works closely together with social services to offer help to these refugees. This help can be in the form of open office hours, but also in targeted therapy like psychotherapy, occupational therapy or sociotherapy. Not only the mental health is checked, but also the physical health of the refugees is being looked at.
The Openschoool project is an initiative that offers workshops for anyone who wants to attend. The idea behind the Openschoool is that the schools of the future will no longer have a fixed physical place, but that their space is flexible. Next to that, the schools of the future won’t require certain diplomas or certificates to participate in courses; schools should be open for all! The project is built on this philosophy, an inviting and open space is the foundation for Openschoool. The initiators believe that everybody has a specific set of knowledge and skills that they can transfer to someone else. Their manifest has three main points: openness triumphs knowledge, orienting is better than certification and orthography is overrated, relationships count. Everyone can participate: student or teacher, refugee or local, with or without diploma.
A buddy-system is set up by [HOME] to improve the social network of refugees. By coupling refugees with locals, someone they can trust and rely upon, both sides can gain something. The locals learn something new about different cultures, languages and political standpoints while the refugees can pick up the German language and Austrian culture. Three types of refugees are distinguished: trust buddies, established through frequent contact, learn buddies and short term-buddies that cannot commit themselves to a long friendship, but can be asked to help in certain situations.
[HOME] is part of the Viel Mehr für Alle! Project that is actively fighting for human rights in general, and focuses specifically on refugees.