Volunteering and integration: Building bridges?

Submmited by Susanne Backmund on Sunday, 22 May 2011

Moderated by Artan Berisha, Chairman of the local council for youth affairs in the town of Esslingen, this third workshop, during the final event of our V11-project, identified some problems relevant for voluntary activities. These problems were language, prejudices, cultural differences between local community and immigrants, lack of education and money and willigness to integration. There was a general agreement with the idea that volunteering provides a framework for interaction.

In addition, it can help to overcome prejudice by ‘enlightening’ those people involved and offer low-threshold opportunities for coming together (like social activities such as barbecues and football tournaments). The fact that people active in different initiatives in Landau were present meant that many concrete examples could be discussed and were compared to experiences elsewhere in Europe. To sum up, participants defined volunteering as a concept with a high potential regarding integration of minorities and migrant groups into a society.

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