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Study Support and Afternoon Care

© Christian Dusek

The so-called “Lerncafés”, an afternoon educational support project, are a highly successful service that has been established by Caritas all over Austria during the past years. On various locations, children from refugee, asylum seeking or migrant families, as well as from host communities have access to free study support, in order to enhance their language skills, succeed in school and to participate in afternoon activities. Through the PIER Program 18 Lerncafés will be supported, thereof nine total new locations will be established in nine Austrian cities. “Lerncafés” are already recognized as successfully supportive initiatives to promote the integration of children in schools and the communities where they are living. They also support parents with social counselling. Refugee, asylum seeking and migrant families are informed of the services by word of mouth, teachers and social workers. Additionally a special “Summer School” service within the Lerncafé project can reach even more children and support them in their study process and a successful start into the new school year.

Social Counselling

The activities of the “Lerncafés” focus on education and social integration. However, the staff in the “Lerncafés” is also open for the many needs of the parents. Problems regarding housing, jobs or legal issues are discussed alongside educational issues. Parents are accompanied to find adequate support, be it within Caritas or at other institutions, such as community administration, schools, health services, etc.

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“Lerncafés” are open to children between six and 15 years, who are enrolled in primary or secondary schools in Austria. They offer free learning support in order to reduce the early drop-out rates from school, to promote motivation to study and to prepare for a successful graduation.
Approximately 75 % of the children attending a “Lerncafé” come from refugee, asylum seeking or migrant families and 25 % from vulnerable families of host communities. Bringing together these children from different backgrounds helps to facilitate the integration process in school and daily life.
“Lerncafés” are open regularly, three to five days per week, three to four hours per day.
Qualified tutors support pupils in doing their homework and improving their language skills.
They also help children to develop communication and social skills. Each “Lerncafé” can accommodate 20 children per semester.

Shared Activities

© Caritas

Each “Lerncafé” has elaborated a comprehensive program including activities for recreation, developing life-skills and learning more about the host community´s culture. In order to help the integration process of the refugees, young local community members are involved in all activities. It is envisaged that 25 % of the local community participates. Among others, the following activities are offered: sport activities; city sight-seeing; visits to museums, libraries, cinemas; themed workshops, such as recycling and waste management; arts and handicrafts; technical workshops; competitions like “Reading Games”; etc.

Support by Volunteers

Volunteers have an important role in the “Lerncafés”. They are involved in all activities offered and give tutorials, prepare food (healthy snacks) and organize recreational activities. Three to five volunteers are present in the “Lerncafé” every day. Each “Lerncafé” has a “crew” of at least ten volunteers.

Greece Italy Austria