Thu 18 Aug 2016 03:11:00 PM EEST
EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2016. Learning a language in a socially and culturally sensitive way – this is the approach of the Israel Adult Education Association (IAEA). The organization reached out to both new immigrants and those who had already been living in Israel for a while, but their lack of language skills prevented them from integrating into the society and finding a job.
The article series shares good practices by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2016.
The Open Door project, implemented by IAEA, prepares immigrants for employment while promoting language acquisition. Language classes go hand in hand with trainings on topics such as employee rights or job searching. The target group includes immigrants who were unable to learn Hebrew after they moved to Israel, coming mainly from Ethiopia, but also a number of other countries.
“Everyone needs the language to feel part of the community,” explains Dalia Burgana, the project manager. “There are different ways to teach, but we must find socially and culturally sensitive ways to do it.”
“We don’t expect the immigrants to forget their culture or values, but to benefit from both – their own and the country they wish to live in,” adds David Silvera, Deputy President of IAEA.
Before launching the programme, the organization conducted thorough research on similar initiatives in Germany, Canada and the US, and collected data about the skills and experiences of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. This is how IAEA came up with a flexible yet intensive programme that reaches out to immigrants living in different localities in Israel.
“We wanted to improve their knowledge and skills and work towards their better integration,” says David Silvera. “We had a few challenges to confront – finding the resources to open the classes wasn’t easy – but we managed to do it against all odds.”
Text: Aleksandra Kozyra
Photo: Israel Adult Education Association