We are the voluntary project “Sprache für Alle” (“language for everybody”) in Flensburg. Our goal is to offer easily accessible and free language classes for refugees or other migrants. Focusing on everyday communication is most important to us as well as exploring the city and shared activities. In the end of 2013 our project was launched by four university students of German as a second language. Since March 2014 our classes take place regularly.
Since refugees mostly don’t have access to official language classes until their application for asylum has been processed, the project especially addresses them. Of course anybody interested is also welcome, no matter what sex, age, origin, or religion. The structure of the project has a win-win-effect: refugees are able to extend their language skills and get to know people and the city. Their teachers, the students, can try their theoretical knowledge in a practical environment, without being under pressure to perform. And furthermore the project gives the opportunity for all participants for inter- and transcultural learning and to broaden their horizon.
Classes take place once a week for 90 minutes. Since all students participate in these classes voluntarily there is a friendly atmosphere and people like to laugh a lot. Rooms are provided for free by the AWO Integrationscenter, Volkshochschule Flensburg, SBV and Europa-Universität Flensburg. Mostly the teachers look for material themselves and decide what their classes will be about, but thanks to some donations we were able to provide some professional material including dictionaries in different languages. Furthermore this homepage provides a collection of helpful links.
The German classes are the “foundation” of the project. But we also love to create space for personal contacts, which of course are completely optional, and free-time activities: Exploring Flensburg, having tea, going out or watching a handball game together. Mutual help also occurs, like repairing cars or helping to move etc. All of this is just as important and part of the project. Additionally some of the teachers support refugees when they need to go to public authorities, help with family reunion, are looking for an apartment or help with finding a sport club.
During 2015 growing challenges led us to some changes. We started having monthly registration so everyone can have their regular class. Also we’re now dividing the classes in alphabetization (literacy), beginners and advanced.
Furthermore we started founding the club/association “Sprache für Alle e.V.” which gives more structure and sustainability to the project.
It’s great to see the project being lively and growing steadily, while all participants benefit from each other. Both groups are highly motivated and having fun. “Sprache für Alle” is an important part of voluntary support for refugees in the city of Flensburg. Instead of waiting for official integration classes for a long time, integration is happening much earlier – not only with language, but into society.