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Elderly care education for African refugees and migrants in Aachen, create a bridge to their mother countries

Activate people of the African diaspora for a professional training, get independent of social welfare benefits, stimulate mother countries.

Photo of Wolfgang Rassek

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We address people of the African diaspora, refugees and immigrants, who are, qualitatively and quantitatively, in a diverse exchange of knowledge and experience with their countries of origin in Africa. In order to achieve more and better social opportunities, we want to enable them to make a three-year training in care of the elderly. Although most of them have completed a good education in their mother country - some of them have also received vocational training - they was for many years not been given the opportunity to learn and pursue a qualified profession which would correspond to their abilities and potentials.

This people and their families in the District of Aachen are living in a community of 8,000 persons. More than 4,000 of them have already lived in Germany for 15 to more than 20 years since fleeing from their home countries. Formerly they had arrived as high school graduates, but instead of this despite many measures of advice, testing and retraining by the official German employment agencies (“Arbeitsagentur” or “Jobcenter”) they remain unemployed or are employed in low-skill jobs with sub-breadline minimum wages that demand supplementary social welfare (“Sozialhilfe/Hartz IV”) in order to survive.

In this fact we recognize an example of a severe exclusion from social participation, since appropriate vocational training and access to employment of a higher standard is thus denied. Academically we had taken various scientific approaches into consideration demonstrates the social implications of escape and immigration. Practically we bring our years of experience using the example of Elderly Education Program we can propose to offer a viable and notable solution to the increasing demographic demand for qualified Elderly Care Staff.

Through the proposed Program many of the above immigrants, currently completely excluded from suitable or efficient vocational training, could thus gain access to an appropriately higher and more suitable level of vocational training with long-term employment perspectives. However, this requires the identification of this situation as an ensemble of specific barriers, such, per example, the current non-suitability diagnoses, made by the official public German employment agencies. With our project-idea we think we can prove that the actual barriers of education and disabilities of professional development are easily overcome if appropriate measures of social inclusion and anti-bias are implemented in a socially oriented training program.

With this approach we even can give important impulses to change good ideas and best practice experiences for initiatives in the different African countries, from which are coming the activists and trainees in our diaspora community: Kenya, Cameroun, Congo Kinshasa, Morocco, Gambia, Congo Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. As well as in Germany there are, although under very different conditions, emergency situations for people who are in need of care, which require a cooperation in the adaptation of new didactic approaches to inclusive, multilingual, heterogeneous and diachronic learning groups and the Family Group Conference as a method for Vocational training of socially disadvantaged persons, we want to take up new approaches to social pedagogy and didactics. We also want to make use of strategies of empowerment and diversity. So we want to realize social inclusion in the sense of the declaration of the UNESCO World Conference on Special Need Education: Access and Quality in Salamanca, Spain, 7-10 June 1994.

The project idea of implementing a social inclusive training program of elderly care education for structural disadvantaged refugees and migrants in combination of professionalism and social networks and family groups touches upon not only the situation in Germany, but also the problems of people in need of care who are living in the large urban quarters of African cities. On the basis of the already functioning communication between Diaspora and countries of origin, a good-practice exchange is able to provide synergies for new training initiatives that are innovative in the African as well as in the German context.

Who Benefits?

The beneficiaries are refugees from Africa who are middle-aged (the trainees and their families are a group of about 200 people) who after their immigration in Germany, had no permit to work for many years because of their application procedures as asylum seekers. Later they were forced to look for an employment without having a professional qualification (per example as cleaners or as helpers in industrial production), where they could not develop their potential and skills - if they were not completely unemployed and depended on the support by the social welfare. Later measures of the employment agencies to further their chances to gain a better professional employment remained unsuccessful: their language skills were considered deficient, their schooling was not accepted and their cognitive abilities were considered insufficient for a better professional training.

How is your idea unique?

None of the established municipal and regional institutions for the counseling, furtherance and support for refugees and migrants without a job, without schooling, professional education and a positive life perspective have hitherto noted that many of the persons concerned have a special need for support, which can only be satisfied if the specific circumstances of their flight and the sustainable effective legal and social disadvantages as asylum seekers are accepted. The social network of the African community can open up resources for learning and motivation. Resources which are not covered by the current suitability analyzes and competence-diagnostic procedures of the employment administration. In the case of care for the elderly, the community is also able to create a society-wide added value through innovation impulses for the development of cultural-sensitive care for the elderly. A unique approach is also bilingual language learning on the job and not in school.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

We are just going to get a registered association and are searching for cooperation partners in the so called Euregio, communities in the Netherlands and Belgium near Aachen. In the last two years we organized together with the 'Volkshochschule Aaachen' and the Malteser Hilfsdienst (similar to Red Cross) some professional trainig containing only elements of our concepts. By massive volonteering almost all of the participants had success. A total of nearly 50 people (5 men and 43 women) have completed six-month preparatory courses with a secondary school diploma with state recognition. Three of our group - migrants themself - served as teachers for the others. Four members started meanwhile - introduced and encouraged by us - social education studies.

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.
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Attachments (2)

AN Artikel 2016-02-06.pdf

some succuess in education for elderly care (in German)


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Photo of eldy wullur

Now I know very well that your struggle is beyond what you get expressed through words. There is a sincere intention in your ministry. I know that there are many good things that can not be expressed by a sentence.
Congratulations again. God will bless your efforts beyond what you just hope for.

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