On 13-14 June 2013, the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme welcomed a delegation of 9 participants from the Czech Republic. You can download a copy of the full programme for the 2-day visit here.
The Czech delegation was made up of participants from the following NGOs, government authorities and municipalities:
- Czech Ministry of Interior – the central government department responsible for overseeing the Czech resettlement programme. It is responsible for selecting refugees to be resettled to the Czech Republic, coordinating the departure and travel process, running the Integration Asylum Centre in which resettled refugees first stay on arrival into the country, and making agreements with municipalities that receive refugees.
- Burma Centre Prague – founded in 2006, is an NGO that provides social and cultural orientation to both refugees and resettlement stakeholders before and after arrival of refugees. It raises awareness about resettlement in receiving communities and supports refugees in their social and labour market integration in the Czech Republic. Click here to view a copy of the presentation given by the Burma Centre during the visit in Sheffield.
- Czech Red Cross Podebrady - the local Red Cross group in Podebrady provided integration support for the Burmese family resettled to the municipality in 2011. The municipality provided housing, a work placement for the father of the family, arranged pre-school education for the children, and assisted with access to financial support. Click here to view a copy of the joint presentation given by delegates from the local Red Cross branch in Podebrady and from the municipality.
- City of Poderady – is has a population of approximately 14,000 people, and is also a historic town with an economy centred on tourism. The town received one resettled Burmese family in 2011, and is due to receive another family in 2013. Click here to view a copy of the presentation given by the City of Poderady and the local branch of the Czech Red Cross in Sheffield.
- Municipality of Kutná Hora – is new to the Czech resettlement programme, and received one resettled Burmese family during 2013.
- Municipality of Bzenec – has received two resettled Burmese families - one in 2009 and another in 2013.
Municipality of Brandýs nad Labem - In 2010, the town received 2 Burmese families as part of the Czech resettlement programme.
On the morning of Day 1 of the programme, the delegation met with the city of Sheffield and its local resettlement partners to discuss their respective cities, their local resettlement programmes and challenges and practices in the areas of refugee integration and protection at the local level. The afternoon was hosted by SAGE Greenfingers, a horticultural therapy project that supports vulnerable men and women to improve their mental health through engaging in therapeutic gardening at SAGE's their allotment gardnes in the city. Delegates were given an overview of the project as well as a tour of the SAGE project gardens and an opportunity to meet with SAGE clients.
On Day 2, the delegates were hosted by the NGO British Refugee Council in Sheffield. Delegates were given an overview of the integration support element of Sheffield's resettlement programme, including pre-arrival planning, and reception and orientation mechanisms. Refugee Council also provided an overview of the approach to integration support they employ to ensure resettled refugees receive support appropriate to their particular needs and that assists them to achieve their goals. The delegation attended a lunch and discussion with Refugee Council staff, clients and volunteers, and the visit concluded with a focus group discussion on the experiences of Burmese refugees previously resettled to Sheffield.
Please click here for more information on the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme.