Photo: Josh Zakary

Europe is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. The current refugee crisis in Europe brings to the light the fact that more solidarity is necessary among Member States of the European Union. Adult Education can play a key role in the current refugee crisis: adult education providers and civil society organisations provide fundamental support to respond to the arrival of refugees and to their long-term inclusion in their host countries. Therefore, "adult education and refugees" is EAEA's key topic in 2016. It is also the theme of EAEA Grundtvig Award 2016.


EAEA policy messages: Adult education and refugees

EAEA statements & publications

Further reading

Photo: BUF Simrishamn / Charlotta Wasteson

EAEA events related to refugees

EAEA Grundtvig Award ceremony
June 2016, Brussels, Belgium

EAEA projects related to refugees

Implementing Outreach, Empowerment, Diversity (implOED)
The project aims to engage disadvantaged adults in learning and to make education policies more effective for their needs. To do so, the project consortium implements the guidelines for adult education providers and the policy recommendations for national and European policy-makers, developed by the OED Grundtvig network, an EAEA-coordinated project preceding implOED.

Photo: Metropolico

EAEA members and other adult education providers working with refugees


  • The City of Vienna and the Viennese adult education centers (Volkshochschulen) have introduced welcome workshops for refugees. They provide information modules twice a week for free for refugees on the topics "Living together", "Education", "Health", "Accomodation", "Social" in Arabic or Farsi/Dari.
  • The Association of Austrian Adult Education Centres provides courses for interpreters in answer to the current need of well communicated procedures for granting of asylum.
  • In four different cities of Austria the organisation Volkshilfe Oberösterreich provides initial assistance for migrants. The project includes assistance in language learning, help with questions around health, giving support in school or at work as well as support in legal, social or financial topics and more.
  • Citizens in Klosterneuburg, Austria come together to provide classes and activities for refugees. The initiative Klosterneuburg hilft (Klosterneuburg helps) uses simple formats such as Facebook for getting organised. Notably, refugees without "status" can take part, in contrast to the official classes.


  • Business Foundation for Education is a partner in the European Info4Migrants project. Its main aim is an online information resource gathering all the information needed by immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in their new country. The website also supports the professionals working with them.




  • Adult education centres in Saarland are providing courses for volunteers that work with refugees. The courses help the volunteers for example to understand the reasons why refugees have left their home country, to recognize what has to be considered when working with traumatized people and to support newcomers to orientate in the municipality.
  • The German adult education centers have published a position paper.
  • Agency for Adult and Further Education in lower Saxony (AEWB Niedersachsen) coordinates a project for the training of voluntary language assistants. This project works in two dimensions: The first step is qualifying instructors and the second step is about the instructors training and supporting voluntary language assistants who assist asylum seekers and migrants in managing language barriers.
  • Work and Life Germany / Work and Life Berlin (Bundesarbeitskreis ARBEIT UND LEBEN e.V. DGB/VHS) provides consultation for migrants in various languages. Migrants can get advice on questions related to employment and unemployment. Advice is also being given on questions about the acceptance of foreign degrees.
  • DVV international hosts an online platform "Ich will deutsch lernen" to study German, suitable for smartphones. It is designed for self study as well as for use in courses. The portal is also useful for staff at institutes of adult education for teaching purposes. Teachers at general and vocational schools, coaches, trainers and tutors at educational facilities are also entitled to use the portal.
  • The Adult Education Center Stuttgart (VHS Stuttgart) asks in an uncomplicated and frank manner for donations of time or money to help supporting refugees in learning German and to make integration possible when support from the authorities is lacking.
  • The Region Eichstaett, Bavaria has an initiative tun.starthilfe für flüchtlinge (starting assistance for refugees). Students organise language classes, activities and other forms of support for refugees. This initiative is partly integrated with structures of the local university, partly integrated with the organisation Live for Life.
  • The Protestant Education Organisation of the Protestant Church of Dortmund is planning additional support for adult refugees (over 18 years) to help them graduate from school.
  • Protestant Organisation for Familiy and Adult Education of Leverkusen has a project Miteinander lernen (learning together) in cooperation with the University of Cologne. University students teach German to refugees, independent from their status. Both students and refugees benefit from the experience. In addition, the students have founded a Facebook group to organise further activities.
  • In their website, the Protestant Church of Bremen provides an informative overview of assistance for refugees and possibilities for citizens to get engaged in voluntary support.

Photo: ICMC/Emma Horton


  • Solidarci is a partner in the System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR) project, which is a network of local authorities that set up and run reception projects for people forced to migrate. The main objective is to provide the individuals accepted to the scheme with personalised programmes to help them (re)acquire self autonomy, and to take part in and integrate effectively into Italian society.


  • More than 30 folk high schools have started working together with local youth organisations on a project called 'Include More' to develop strategies for the inclusion of refugees. Read an English description.