Cristina Simona Bangau
Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary
Menedek – Hungarian Association for Migrants
University of Vienna
A 4th partner is University of East London: https://www.uel.ac.uk/schools/social-sciences/olive We are in a consortium, working on a larger refugee education project implemented in all 3 universities
Refugees are marginalized from public life and democratic participation in Europe. Our project addresses this issue by supporting refugee inclusion through education. For one year, refugee students are mentored by advocates and academics to develop their own advocacy campaign to challenge fear and prejudice against refugees. Students will hold workshops in Hungarian high schools through our grassroots partners and the model will be shared with the European universities we worked with so far.
Our project starts in Budapest, Hungary and will be transferred to Vienna, Austria and London, UK.
Democracy is the right to participate and the recognition by others of your right to do so. Our project strengthens the capacity of refugees to contribute to their adopted societies. In an environment where anti-Europeanism is taking hold, our project is an alternative built on European values.
Refugees use knowledge of their rights and tools gained through the initiative to successfully implement their own advocacy projects. Further, they will reach out to Hungarian high schools and raise students awareness of racism and prejudice against refugees.
The project is innovative in its multilevel approach to advocacy and education, reaching up to 80 refugees per year. OLIve facilitates participants’ social participation through university courses, English-language training, advocacy workshops, and collaborative advocacy projects, including an awareness raising campaign in Hungarian high schools to counter anti-refugee discourse.
We launched 2 university programs for refugees in Hungary in 2 years and know that the work is not over. We see access to access to education and rights as key to challenge exclusion and anti-refugee discourse.
We bring together refugee advocates, the university, Hungarian high schools, and refugees as stakeholders. While the target group is refugees who attend the courses, society at large benefits from a more inclusive environment.
If others would like to consider similar ideas, we’d be happy to collaborate with other groups.