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Germany: Catholic schools of Hamburg promote integration of child refugees

With Kulturforum21, Germany’s unprecedented school-State project, since 2008 the Association of Catholic Schools of Hamburg has been providing an interdisciplinary programme consisting of special educational and artistic courses in partnership with the city’s cultural institutions, artists and independent initiatives. Over 12 thousand children and teenagers from 21 Catholic primary schools and districts and secondary schools have been involved in these projects. With the new K21mondial programme area, it has been decided that such courses will also be opened to young refugees to provide education and future cooperation. “We want to promote young people’s integration and adopt a common access to a shared living space”, the project coordinator, Bettina Knauer, explains. In some schools of Hamburg – including St Mary’s school at St. George’s Cathedral, Langenhorner Katharina von Siena School, Altona Catholic school and Harburger Niels Stensen-Gymnasium –, the so-called “tandems” are held to help children and young refugees meet the students and teachers of the Catholic schools through cultural initiatives. “It is very important for our work to speak with young refugees, be in close contact with social workers and teachers in refugee camps to coordinate our initiatives and adapt them to the refugees’ wish to work sustainably”, Knauer says.

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