Building Community Support and Strengthening Refugee Communities

Living Spirit: Muslim Women and Human Rights Forum: the right to participate in social change - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Over 140 women and girls from a variety of different cultural backgrounds attended this one-day interactive forum52, aiming to:

  • Promote harmony and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims;
  • Develop strategies to combat religious and racial discrimination and vilification against women;
  • Provide an effective way of making Muslim women’s voices heard and for them to express their concerns, needs and aspirations;
  • Increase understanding of legal protections against discrimination and vilification in Australia.

SPIRIT – Finnish Red Cross

The Spirit project, led by the Finnish Red Cross, encourages municipalities to be more open to receiving refugees by confronting negative attitudes towards foreigners and raising community awareness about refugees. To do this the project has developed civic participation through volunteering activities related to refugee reception and integration; promoted cooperation between local NGOs and authorities and clarified stakeholders’ mandates and responsibilities.

Pre-Arrival Community Preparedness, Operation Swaagatem-Bhutanese Case Study-Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC)

In 2008, Canada agreed to resettle 5000 Bhutanese refugees over a four-year- period from camps in Nepal, for the first time. The NGO, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC), decided to organise a pre-arrival community planning forum. The aim of the planning forum was to inform the community and mainstream services about the arrival of the Bhutanese refugees, to involve them in the process and coordinate a welcome for the newly arriving refugees. In preparation, forum organisers consulted the local Nepalese community

Teaching Tolerance in Secondary Schools - Medenék Association

Medenék led this project to educate secondary school children about accepting differences in society and promoting tolerance, towards refugees. Medenék teachers delivered classes with refugees, making presentations on the background of refugees, what happens to refugees in Hungary and some of the difficulties they face. Then, the refugee would present his or her personal experience, their journey to Hungary, what they expected and the reality of how it has been for them.

Awareness Raising in the Community – Burma Center Prague - Czech Republic

In 2008 the Czech Republic engaged in a small programme to resettle around 40 Burmese refugees a year, as part of a three-year pilot project. The Czech Burma Center (BCP), an independent NGO located in Prague, ran a series of educational activities to raise awareness in the community and promote better understanding of newly arrived refugees and their needs. They gave lectures to social workers, government officials and other representatives from NGOs, churches, schools and the general public who had contact with the refugees.