This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Refugees Initiative

A Map focusing on the 3 partners'countries represented within the partnership identifying the integration activities carried out investigating regulatory measures of integration undertaken directly by universities.

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TITLE OF THE INITIATIVE

VAI - Volunteering Among Immigrants

INSTITUTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

Aristotle University Thessaloniki

COUNTRY

Greece

CITY

Thessaloniki

ADDRESS

Aristotle University Thessaloniki - University Campus, Administration Bureau
Thessaloniki 54124

EUROPEAN PROJECT


TYPOLOGY

- Non formal education activities for students
- Tutoring and peer support for refugee students

TARGET GROUPS

- Newly arrived refugees
- Refugees of second generation

DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES

The VAI project was set up by 10 partners from Academia, Civil Society, Local Government & Media, to explore innovative actions to the topic of the “social integration” and “active participation” of third country nationals (TCNs) – focusing on volunteering as an instrument. Coordinator of the project was Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR). Further co-applicants were the University of Calabria (IT), Leibniz University Hannover (DE), Hellenic Red Cross (GR), 4Elements (GR), Piraeus Municipality (GR), Cidis Onlus (IT), Verein Multikulturell (AT), Initiative Minderheiten (AT), FREIRAD (AT). Learn more about our Partner organisations…

General objectives
VAI project aimed at promoting new arrangements of volunteering among immigrants, negotiated by removing obstacles and by building on facilitators of societal integration. It also aimed at strengthening networks and exchange of knowledge in the field of migrant volunteering, especially on a transnational European level.

This was achieved through various channels:
- Promoting the development and implementation of innovative actions to increase third country nationals’ (TCN) participation in the volunteering sector
- Building up contacts between the host country population & migrants through setting up guidelines to involve immigrants in volunteering schemes
- Improving acceptance of TCNs within the host country Population
- Strengthening the identity of TCNs
- Facilitating migrants’ potential for self-help
- Introducing local services and opportunities
- Development of volunteering opportunities for immigrants through pilot actions and by promoting the different stakeholders to explicitly use an empowerment approach and value immigrants’ unique skills, for example as intercultural mediators
- Fostering knowledge and experience sharing and capacity building on successful action to increase third country nationals’ participation in society, with a particular focus on the volunteering sector and representation frameworks.

Activities were organized among the following key axis and led to the production of the respective outputs (http://www.vai-project.eu/outputs/):

A. National researches on volunteering
A.1.National Reports on Volunteering

B. Capacity Building in the host community
B.1.Orientation Manual for Volunteering
B.2.Guide for Migrant Volunteers
B.3.Guide for Training Volunteers
B.4Toolkit for Training Migrant Volunteers

C. Establishing volunteering opportunities
C.1. Action Plan

RESULTS AND IMPACT

The project partners addressed the motives and the different contexts of migrant volunteering, including TCNs’ concepts of and attitude towards volunteering. The partners developed guidelines how volunteering can contribute to the better integration of migrants who are third-country nationals, and the better integration of the societies of which they are part of. They also organized pilot actions that facilitated these activities. Finally, a european network of national contacts and new initiatives in the field of migrant volunteering was established allowing increased transnational dialogue between stakeholders – supported by a virtual platform.

At the end the partners of the VAI project organized an International Conference to discuss the consequences of migrant volunteerism, as well as the pilot actions conducted by them during VAI’s life.

Recommendations were formulated to different actors, such as decision makers from government and voluntary organisations both from “migrant” sectors and the “mainstream” sector, concerning actions which can take place at different level: european, national/regional and local level.