Who Will Help?
The Ladislav Hanus Fellowship (SLH) is a civic association of university students and young graduates, who embrace the vision to actively contribute to understanding and developing real Christian faith and culture in Slovakia.
The project “Who Will Help?” they introduced to the society has a national impact targeting one of the most vulnerable groups, qualified for the international protection, recognized as refugees or as beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. They point out that helping a neighbour in need is a great chance to help our society become healthier and more sustainable.
SLH ask Slovak government to accept 100 refugee and displaced families from Syria and Iraq to Slovakia. At the same time they want the government to introduce the perspective of integration of the families into Slovak society with dignity. They come up with an idea of making a public promise of thousands of Slovak families, individuals, organizations, churches and companies committed to helping the adopted women, men and children integrate into the Slovak society. They seek an expert assistance and refugee replacement and admission assistance with partners from the non-governmental sector who have long worked in the field of integration so that the refugees are not compelled to resort to smugglers or traffickers to find a solution.
SLH look for 1,000 committed volunteers who would help families from Syria or Iraq if they are offered an asylum in Slovakia. SLH will then appeal to the government to accept the refugee and displaced families from Syria and Iraq fully.
What SLH suggest: help with accommodation, help with finding a job, integrate refugees into the community, introduce refugees to people in one’s neighbourhood and help them build meaningful relationships and friendships, spend a couple of hours a month with refugees.
48 volunteers have been trained already in four cities across Slovakia, more than 40 beneficiaries of volunteer support in terms of language learning, babysitting, job search, accommodation search and provision, 1 PC course organized and attended by 10 students, 4 community activities organized and attended by 20-50 people each.
The Middle East encounters the largest refugee crisis since 1948 where a large number of people from Syria and Iraq have become victims of several years lasting civilian war and persecution by the Islamist state terrorist group. The only way for them to save themselves them from danger was to escape. Over 3.9 million citizens from Syria and over 1, 9 million Iraqi citizens have been forced to flee their home countries and find shelter in temporary homes scattered across the world. Most of them no longer have any hope of returning to their original homes. Through no fault of their own.
SLH strongly believe that the success of refugee integration depends on the engagement of individual members of the society emphasising the real change comes from within. That is why the core of their activities is focused on the volunteering programme and thus bringing innovation and support to the refugee integration sector.
Volunteering has twofold advantages: First, it is an inherent awareness raising activity where individuals get to learn more about the situation the refugees are in through a fist-hand experience and continue to act as multipliers in their own communities. Secondly, the contact with a Slovak volunteer enables refugees to build a bridge to our society, get to know it better and start to feel a sense of belonging. Volunteers usually open up a gate of useful resources of further networking to their new refugee friends.
In terms of the volunteering programme, SLH pay great attention to the selection, preparation and stewardship of their volunteers. The selection phase begins with a comprehensive screening followed by an invitation to a full-day training session that prepares volunteers for the type of person they will be helping and the specifics of his or her situation. After the training a Volunteer contract is signed. With regards to stewardship the volunteers have an on call coordinator, a professional supervision by a trained psychologist every two months and a group meeting every three months to which a professional on the integration sector is invited to speak. SLH believe that the provision of this extensive preparation and support framework enables volunteers to learn and understand the integration challenges of refugees in more depth and helps them remain active for a longer period of time without becoming demotivated and wanting to quit.