From Strangers to Neighbours: Center for Integration of Refugees to Provide Help and Support

Total Croatia News

April 17, 2018 – The new center will provide refugees with support, helping them learn the Croatian language and find jobs so they could become full-fledged members of the local community

The Jesuit Refugee Centre (JRC), an international organisation whose Croatian branch has been aiding refugees and asylum seekers for 25 years now, is planning to open a Center for Integration of Refugees in Croatia. Their goal is to help the newcomers learn the Croatian language so they could integrate into the society as easily as possible and become full-fledged members of the local community.

The JRC has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, appealing to the public to help them in their commendable mission. The new Center for Integration of Refugees, called SOL for short, is meant to become a meeting point of various cultures, and also help with some practical matters, such as providing support to refugees in finding a job and learning the language.

Here’s a part of their statement:

“In the Republic of Croatia, 554 people were granted refugee status. Grateful for the protection they have received in our country, they now want to learn Croatian language, provide for themselves and care for their families, as well as enjoy and share wonderful moments with their new friends. They need our support and that is why the Jesuit Refugee Service, which has been supporting the refugees for 25 years now, finally achieved what was long wished for: to launch the “Sol” – The Center for Integration of Refugees!

The idea of the Center for the Integration of Refugees “SOL” is to empower refugees, support their integration and familiarize and connect them with the local community. In the Center refugees will receive organized support focused on learning Croatian, as the first step of integration, and mediation in retraining and employment. Also, our team will organize and conduct a series of workshops dedicated to children and women, as well as intercultural meetings between locals and refugees in order to create a relationship of trust and future friendly and business cooperation!”

The new center ‘Sol’ will bring Syria, Iran, Iraq and other distant countries and cultures to the people of Zagreb, introducing them to many diverse traditions and customs. As stated in the campaign, the support of the local community and the overall acceptance of refugees is crucial to their integration. After all, a person can only realise the full potential of their human nature if they keep an open heart and emphatise with their fellow human beings from all walks of life.

“In order to support the integration of children who have been granted refugee status, we will conduct weekly workshops for children according to their age, level of Croatian language skills and time of stay in the Republic of Croatia. An educational and creative approach will bring Croatian language, culture and customs closer to the children, we will take them to excursions and performances, and a systematic support and follow-up will empower them to deal with all school and social challenges.

In our Center “Sol” we will continue running a specially designed “Women for Women” workshop, which we have so far offered only to asylum seekers at the “Porin” Reception center. The aim of the workshop is to dedicate our time to female refugees, encourage them to express their qualities, prepare them for independent living in a new environment and re-awaken their awareness of their own values and importance. Also, in these workshops, women will have an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge as well as to share their experiences with women from the local community.

We hope you will support our Center because only together we can create a better future for the people who have found a safe and peaceful corner in our country. We believe we can agree to that. Or how would our colleagues in the Arabic speaking area say, “The salt is between us”.

Learn more about the commendable project here.


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