Each year, thousands are forced to flee their homes, cities, friends and countries to seek refuge in other countries. After a long and often dangerous journey these men and women, apply for the protection of other states. Unfortunately, even though they had no choice but to leave, they are very rarely welcomed in those countries. They are seen as costly and destabilizing elements poised to create social unrest. In France, in order to be able to stay safely in the country, refugees need to apply for the hard to get refugee status, which grants them a 10 years renewable visa and the same rights as the French population in terms of access to basic rights.
Unfortunately, once the status is obtained, refugees often encounter numerous barriers, including: lack of knowledge of the language and socio-cultural codes, non-equivalence of diplomas and lack of opportunities to adapt their skills, difficulty in enforcing rights and lack of knowledge of how the judicial and administrative systems work. Additionally, refugees arriving in France often experience racism, discrimination and a feeling of rejection by society that contributes to further exclusion.
- To raise awareness of the question of asylum in host countries, and change society’s perception on refugees and their role roles in our communities.
- To support refugees in their socio-economic integration through a project based methodology that empowers refugees to become actors of our society.
- To create opportunities for dialogue and understanding between refugees and other members of society
SINGA is above all a community of professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, dancers, singers, students… in short, a community of human beings who want to get to know and understand each other better and build a better society for themselves. The various SINGA programs aim to organize and facilitate opportunities to meet others in the SINGA community.
SINGA LANGUAGES AND CULTURE :
Not knowing the language or how to interact on the cultural level with the local communities is one of the main causes of exclusion for many refugees. Unfortunately in France the services provided in this aspect are insufficient and not always adapted. SINGA decided to offers courses in the form of private, one-on-one lessons. The tutor adapts the lesson to the level of the student and their objectives are defined together in a personalized manner. Most of the time the course is adapted to the person’s professional objectives. SINGA also encourages refugees to teach their native language to other members of the community or to share specific aspects of their cultures such as their gastronomy.
EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS: Another important cause of exclusion for refugees is the isolation and the lack of social and professional contacts: In order to solve this issue, SINGA organizes a wide variety of events and workshops aiming to create connections and enjoy each other’s company. The objective is to organize events that will be appealing for refugees and for the host society: Thai-jitsu, cooking, yoga, art and dance classes, theatre, sport, picnics, conferences, guitar and horse riding workshops, open discussions on « love » (Men and Women relationship), citizenship, religion. There are thousands of things to discover every day in Paris. So as to not miss out on the marvels and surprises of this great city, SINGA also runs outings, for example to the cinema, museums, parks, walks etc.
SINGA NIGHT AND SINGA VILLAGE
Because the skills and experiences of refugees are often judged unworthy and because refugees are often accused of “costing money” for host societies SINGA organizes yearly two events: The SINGA Night where every year talented musicians who only want one thing: to share their talents, are discovered. The SINGA Village, two days during which society can meet and be inspired by the various projects and members of the SINGA community while having a great time.
Supporting refugees is not enough. There also exists an urgent need to shift the perspective of the french society vis-a-vis refugees, so we are able to see refugees as a solution rather than a problem. In order to foster this positive perspective, SINGA supports refugees to start their own entrepreneurial to demonstrate to society that refugees are not a burden on the economy but rather a welcome contribution.
SINGA developed a methodology to supports refugees willing to create businesses, organizations and cultural and artistic projects by connecting them with the relevant people and other organizations in the host country that can help them develop their ideas. Our objective: send the message that refugees present an opportunity for societies if they are integrated, supported, and given the opportunity to contribute.
For refugees wishing to find a job, SINGA uses the same « project » methodology. We connect them with professional and volunteers to help them overcome the various barrier to integration that they so often meet. We provide them with Language lessons – Brainstorming – Promotion of refugees’ individual projects and the SINGA Project more broadly – Support in finding sources of funding – Administrative and legal support.
Sports are an amazing way to get people together and create connection beween asylum seekers, refugees and the host society. There are also quite a few professional opportunities sports related for refugees that had an extensive sporting experience in their home countries. We are currently proposing Crossfit Classes, Marathon and Semi-Marathon, and Yoga classes to our community.
The objective of the lab is to 1) analyze and evaluate our current programs, 2) research, identify and share with society new opportunities and innovations to improve the integration of refugees in host countries, 3) incubate and support innovative projects that will further improve the integration of refugees in their host countries, 4) share this information.
Found out more about our #ConnectedRefugees Hackathon on the Radio France International (RFI) (podcast) in English : http://www.english.rfi.fr/france/20150202-Paris-Hackathon-aims-create-apps-refugees