FORMER UID PROJECTS in THE NETHERLANDS
The Refugees Integration Documentary
It is an upcoming documentary of all interviews we conducted with stakeholders in the refugees’ integration subject, across the Netherlands; these interviews were enlightening, as we made several discoveries. One important discovery is that many refugees we interviewed were grateful to the Netherlands for welcoming them, and they had a positive attitude while hoping to gain assistance on certain difficult areas of their integration process.
A second discovery was that some communities initially rioted against having refugees among them, partly because they felt excluded in the decision making the process of the settlement of these refugees in their communities, more so in the face of the negative news accompanying the topic of refugees and the crisis.
When however engaged by their mayor and the municipality’s integration team in Tilburg, they had a better understanding of the intentions of the municipality with regards to refugees; most of these people who were initially against the process, not only accepted it but volunteered alongside foundations and groups, welcomed the refugees and helped them to settle into the community.
My University Cares Too Much
MUCT is a database project/campaign that is ongoing at UID.
We understand the place of universities in assisting refugees to integrate, and we refer to this as integration through education; our research, however, has uncovered that while there are many projects going on across institutions of higher education in the Netherlands, organized for the benefit of refugees, or by refugees themselves, there isn't a complete database with all of this information, for free and easy access to refugees, students, researchers, and other interested parties. To this end, therefore, we have commenced the creation of the database.
MUCT is more than an online platform, it is also a community – educators, diversity officers, admissions officers, student groups and associations, cultural groups, language schools, and non-profits who join their efforts to assist, promote inclusion of refugee students, and inspire colleagues to do the same on their campuses. The database was launched on 18th April 2018, at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The database is being used to assist newcomers with their integration into educational institutions, especially those of them who have never been in any Dutch higher institutions of learning. We anticipate that the project can provide easier means for making new friends, contributing to the school community and eventually becoming successful in their chosen career fields.
Clothes and other Item Donations
Many have a need for clothes, accessories and other types of items. We want to do our best to help those who have such needs, to obtain the much-needed clothing and accessories to survive the cold season, vital household items to set up their new homes, and even bicycles to get around Dutch cities. For this purpose, many awesome people have supported this project by donating both used and new items to us. We continue to ask the community to donate so we can assist those who have the need.
The only rule to donating is to ensure items are all in good conditions and do not require costly repairs.
What began as a collection of just clothes and accessories for the cold winter months, has grown into the receiving of more items such as suitcases, furniture, laptops, computers, books, household items, bicycles, and any other thoughtful items. Some of these have been given to asylum seekers whose applications were rejected, and who are facing deportation.
We have also used this medium to raise funds to finance our other community projects, by selling for charity purposes, some of the items donated.
Donations have been so far distributed once every month, with the exception of some months depending on the activities in the community.
Creative and Academic Writing Class in English
Creative writing is an art which for some comes naturally, and for others, learning refines this talent. UID created this course to enable some newcomers who wish to write about their stories or those who simply want to use their passion for creative writing to make their contribution to the society; while keeping in mind the fact that writing can be therapeutic, not only for refugees, asylum seekers or victims of different crimes but for just about anyone.
For the sake of efficiency, we have ensured a small class size, and a one-on-one approach, giving each participant the opportunity to bring out the best in them as far as creative writing goes.
Participants have the opportunity to learn how to write books of different genres, poems, and other types of creative writing of their choice.
The Correspondence Project
This was the name given to this project by its initiator, Japanese Student Artist named Yukari Nakamichi, from the Royal Academy of Art, the Hague. The central aim of her project which she carried out in collaboration with UID was to break the stereotypical outlook towards countries that have undergone or are still undergoing armed conflicts, by sharing happy memories of their culture and daily life, prior to the commencement of the armed conflict.
She interviewed 3 people from Syria, including one refugee; the memories they shared about Syria, are all breathtaking; Yukari turned these interviews into letters to any interested reader. When next you hear about Syria; remember that it is a beautiful country, with great people, great culture, and lots of natural endowments. Click here to see highlights from the project.