A student project group consisting of Mathias Kolbinger, Akila Speicher, Emre Sahin, Patrick Frick and Mike Putnik, decided once again to offer a German tutoring programme for refugees. Refugees from the area met with the volunteer tutors once a week to learn German in a relaxed atmosphere.
The students advertised for volunteers over the HFU monitors and distributed flyers at the Volkhochschule and in the refugee homes to let refugees know about the offer. During the lessons, every learner had his or her own tutor. Some even became good friends and met outside classes, too. The aim of the classes was to improve communication so there was a lot of discussion and small talk in the lessons. While the refugees were learning German, the students learned more about other cultures. Although the focus was on active speaking, the learners sometimes needed help with homework from their classes at the Volkshochschule, too.
Once again the project was rated a complete success. The students said, "We are not actually sure who learned more in this class!"
After the success of the International Women's Breakfast organized by students with women refugees in the previous semester, a project group consisting of Lisa-Marie Merkel, Stephanie Möbius, Iza Hoffmann, Verena Schwarz Rosado, Viola Dukaj and Thanh Lan Pham, decided to run a similar event for refugees as part of their project management course.
The students organized a day for refugee women and children in the Schwenningen Town hall with food, drink and music. Ten women and 20 children from various refugee homes took part in the event. The highlight of the day for the kids was being allowed to go up in the ladder of one of the Schwenningen Fire Brigade fire engines and the fantastic view over Schwenningen they got at the top.
Six participants of the University Preparation Course for Refugees wanted to read a whole book in German. Dr. Lucy Lachenmaier the intercultural trainer in the refugee course volunteered to help.
She decided on the short story, „Aus dem Leben einer Matratze bester Machart“ by Tim Krohn, which is about European development from 1935 to 1992. The book was chosen for its interesting language, varied characters and locations and division into short chapters.
The aim was to experience the German language together, to enjoy literature in a foreign language and bring the cultures closer. The book was read out loud, expressions were explained and the historical background was explained. The group discussed openly the various topics, cultural comparisons and freedom of expression. Thanks to donations from the Bücherstube bookshop, the Schwenningen church and various other donors, each member of the book circle received a free copy of the book.
The Student Initiative for Children Villingen-Schwenningen e.V. is a local organization founded in March 2015 which aims to provide all children regardless of their financial situation with access to good, free and fun tutoring. HFU students are also members of the organization and tutoring teams of the organization which is active in 6 schools in Villingen-Schwenningen.
The tutoring offer, expanded for refugee children and aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 11, takes place in the Friedensschule in Schwenningen. Fifteen refugee children receive tutoring in German and maths three times a week.
A student project group made up of the German students and French exchange students, Céline Schmitt, Nicolas Robert, Elena Kanzler, Anton Baker, Felix Loth, Friederike Hartleb, Alain Abbaz and André Gaupp, organized a Refugee Day on 13 June 2017. The idea was to establish contact between young people of the same age from different countries and places. It would give students a chance to get to know the refugees and give the refugees the chance to get to know HFU and its students.
The students first introduced themselves and gave some background as to where they are from, then later gave a presentation about HFU and the courses offered. The refugees, aged between 19 and 25 and mostly from Gambia, then introduced themselves and talked about the lives they led before they came to Germany. The group included a professional footballer, a taxi driver and an IT student. Later, at the buffet, students and visitors had the chance to chat. "It was nice to see how open and interested the refugees are, and how thankful they are for the opportunity to meet," said the students.
SharityOnline is a portal set up by students of the eBusiness (Business Networking) programme of the Faculty of Business Information Systems as part of the"Business Project" course of Prof. Dr. Pavel Rawe. The students suggested, designed and realized the project.
The web platform, www.SharityOnline.de connects charitable organizations with volunteers in order to support the integration of refugees in Germany. SharityOnline.de is the first portal of its kind in Germany that enables organizations and volunteers to network. SharityOnline was the popular winner of the public's prize in a Baden-Württemberg Elevator Pitch competition. Volunteers can register for tasks or requests that are posted by organizations such as the German Red Cross. These can be anything from donations of clothing to accompanying refugees to government offices, German lessons or freetime activities. Communication between registered helpers and the organizations takes place directly in the portal.
Five students sit on the board, taking full responsibility for running the organisation and portal which is a registered charity. SharityOnline e.V. is entirely financed by donations. The students set up the charity originally by running a bake sale, but with SAP as their first company sponsor they were able to carry out further functional tests. In the meantime the charity has enough capital to advertize in Baden-Württemberg and Germany.
Four students of International Business Management at the HFU Business School, Anna Schroo, Rutendo Motsi, Anupong Tumjanda and Jeounggu Shim organized the German Tutoring for Refugees programme as part of their Project Management course in order to help refugees to integrate as quickly as possible.
After initial difficulties in getting in touch with the refugees, and several visits to the refugee homes and meetings with the people who look after the refugees, the students were finally able to set up their project. With the help of translators and body language they made it clear what they wanted to do and everyone seemed very interested. Finding volunteers to help with the tutoring, on the other hand, was relatively easy with many HFU students being ready and willing to help out.
The project group was initially a little worried when only 12 refugees appeared to the first session, but within a week word hat got around and more and more refugees joined the group. Within a few weeks the number had tripled. The number of volunteers also increased from 18 to 40 which meant that the students could receive individual attention.
Although both tutors and students had a lot of fun, the task for the student volunteers was not always easy. Every week for an hour or an hour and a half, they did their best to explain the German grammar system and improve communication skills, but the fact that the refugees did not always come regularly and proficiency levels were very different, meant they had to be very flexible. The positive energy and the many happy faces every week, however, proved the success of the project.
Five HFU International Business Management students set up the "HFU Refugee Buddy" project because wanted to do something to support the integration of refugees and at the same time give students at HFU an understanding of their situation.
The project concept is similar to the already existing student buddy system which helps new students settle in to HFU life. All students were welcome to be buddies regardless of faculty or course or even what language they speak. The only requirement was that they would meet up with their buddy on at least 4 occasions.
Originally the project was conceived only for adult refugees, but while working together with the local social services, it was decided to include children in the project too, so that there were 3 groups: one of men, one of women and one of children. Before assigning each buddy to a refugee, an orientation evening was organised for the 37 student participants to learn more about the background to the so-called "refugee crisis", the current situation and the rights of asylum seekers. An Arabic speaking participant gave the other participants in the programme a crash course in Arabic. To avoid any potential problems and to create a good basis for common interests, female participants were assigned only to female refugees and male participants only to male refugees.
One of the students, Leo Weißer, said, "My buddy Muaz and I got along great right from the start. Although he hasn't been here long, we can actually converse in German already. For me it is really interesting to hear about Germany from his point of view. I decided to take part in the programme because I wanted to form my own opinion about the "refugee crisis".
On 7 May, 2016 an international women's breakfast took place in "Mauritius" in Schwenningen. The event, which brought refugee women and German women together, was organised and carried out by 3 HFU International Business students, Dajana Kopelmann, Elena Pinzon and Kerstin Frick, as part of their Project Management course.
The aim of the event was to promote intercultural exchange between refugee and German women and their integration into German society. In all, 45 people took part in the breakfast which consisted of both Arabic and German food which the group cooked and prepared together. A Syrian guitar player played Syrian songs and explained the meaning of the lyrics, while other women sang and some danced. The students also arranged a tombola which provided prizes for 3 of the participants.
The Mauritius bar provided the premises free of charge and together with several local kebap restaurants, Sultan Kebap, Ali Baba Kebap and Kebap House, as well as the Protestant Methodist Church, also helped finance the event.
To underscore Furtwangen University's commitment to supporting refugees, the pilot compulsory elective course, "HFU for Refugees" was launched by professors and academic staff from various faculties. The course seeks to discover innovative solutions to refugee problems. What does a person do, for example, if his study at home is cut short because he has to flee his country? These and other questions are dealt with on this course.
The Hochbeet+ Project was carried out by 3 HFU Business School students, Jessica Kompalla, Lisa Schandelmeyer and Sabrina Gantert in Autumn 2015 as part of their Project Management course. As members of ENACTUS, a student organization that aims to bring entrepreneurial knowledge to socially-relevant projects, the students hoped to give refugees from Gambia the means of setting up their own garden bed business, while at the same time promoting intercultural and social integration by building various garden beds for senior citizens homes in the area.
The first garden bed was constructed at the Maria Thann refugee home in Villingen and was planted with vegetables and herbs for the use of those living in the home. Further beds were then constructed at the senior "Haus der Betreuung und Pflege" citizens' home in Schwenningen, where it was filled together with the elderly living in the home, and at the Environmental Centre in Schwenningen.