The Values of Apardo GmbH – „Our Philosophy“

Equal/Equal Opportunities and Equal Treatment

Equal rights (in accordance with Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations [1]) represent the foundation of our work with refugees. Especially when dealing with children, women, and minorities, we work to ensure equal rights, just the same as we do with equal responsibilities. Our premise rests on the belief that every human being, regardless of their origin, gender, or other characteristics, should be treated the same. Inequality, on the other hand, contributes to the division of society. When people are stuck (exposed to the feeling of being stuck) in their current (unfortunate) situation, regardless of their efforts, their trust in the system, principles, and society of the country fades. That’s the reason for Apardo’s main interest to support our residents’ integration, and thereby, societal cohesion, by putting equal opportunities into practice. Based on the United Nations’ principle of equal rights [2], Apardo pursues the principle of equal treatment. Therefore, inhabitants are not only being informed about their rights, but are also encouraged to make use of them and act as equal members of society. It’s easier for people to adapt to local structures, and in that way, successfully integrate, if they perceive themselves as equal.

 

The Goals of Apardo GmbH

Taking into account the individuality and diversity of our residents, we pursue the following goals:

1.) Housing, Care, and Support

We want to provide adequate housing for people in need, a place for them to call home. We are the right place for people reliant upon professional support and care.

2.) Integration and Intercultural Exchange

It is our goal to enable refugees to have a normal life. That’s why we feel that integrating our residents into the existing social and regulatory systems (labor market, education system, housing market, health care) and, furthermore, to support the social integration as well as the intercultural exchange, are our most important challenges. Social integration includes, for example, integration through language, the communication of values, and sports. In order to achieve our goals, we offer a comprehensive concept in compliance with all criteria required by the State Office for Refugee Affairs. In addition to that, we consider further measures as being vital for a sustainable integration and consequently provide the following services:

– German as a Second Language courses General courses for adult men and women Special courses for pregnant women, children, and parents

– Daily childcare (in the style of a Kindergarten) for residents’ children from age 0 to 13

– Psychological measures like psychological crisis intervention and diagnostics, psychotherapeutic consultations, social skills trainings, resilience trainings, and stress management courses – customized for the requirements of refugees

– Women’s workshop (completely equipped facilities for textile design including four sewing machines, involvement of volunteers, collective cooking, natural cosmetics workshops, creation and gardening of raised-beds, and more)

– Women’s representative (confidential contact person for our female inhabitants, who is an expert on women’s rights, violence against women, and the like)

– Supervision of homework

– Events concerning regional studies

 

Educationional Access for All

Educational opportunities for everybody are the foundation of a democratic society. A quality education is the cornerstone for a societal integration through basic and continuing educational programs including language, general education, and practical courses. For a holistic integration of people from diverse cultural areas to work, first and foremost, the integration into the regulatory structures is required. This means consultation as well as the placement into schools and professional education institutions. Social Services take care of that. In cases where the utilization of the regulatory structures isn’t completely, or even at all, possible (e.g. children without a place in kindergarten or school yet) we contribute compensation. For this purpose we offer German and literacy courses, take care of the supervision of children and adolescents, and provide opportunities to participate in workshops and information events on various topics.

 

Integration into Culture and Regulatory Structures

At Apardo, we put special focus on the fields of language, education, job market, coping with everyday life, health, sports, and culture and consequently merge these fields of involvement into an essential element of our integrational concept. Hence, we organize various events and programs regarding these topics for our residents. Furthermore, the structure of our day-to-day processes supports the independence of the residents and helps them to establish themselves in the German society.

 

Residents Advisory Board

The acceptance of democratic values, such as equal rights and equal opportunities for all, along with a true solidarity between people, are crucial for successful integration. It is important for us to encourage people to treat each other with dignity and respect, to accept and appreciate the opinions and beliefs of others, and thus, relate with one another in a considerate manner. That’s the only way to experience the potential of successful solidarity. For that reason, the inhabitants of our shelter are able to organize themselves democratically through a residents’ advisory board and to represent their interests towards the operator. If necessary, we happily provide further information and a respective visualization (organization chart) on the residents’ advisory board.

 

Language, Education, Job Market, Health

Through our experience with the day-to-day issues of our residents, we know for a fact that learning the German language is key to the integration process. Therefore, we offer in-house German courses to our inhabitants. These courses specifically target those who are denied access to governmental programs for various reasons or are unable to take part in them. Residents who are obliged to take tests or those in need of assistance for their homework are also potential participants. The improvement of German language skills reduces the need for assistance in day-today life and advances the development of an independent life. Moreover, through connections to the educational sector, job market, and health care we are able to provide informative events concerning important topics for our residents. For example, representatives from the Federal Employment Agency have been to Apardo facilities several times already, giving advice on local educational possibilities. In the same way, in cooperation with the Charité, we organize vaccination-days for our residents. The program provides a vaccination-team including a customized bus, which offers residents the possibility to get vaccination shots on the spot, thus avoiding difficult trips to central vaccination points. In the case of missing health care coverage, we support our inhabitants’ integration into the social insurance system. If they are not eligible, we forward their case to the Maltese Migrant Medicine. In addition, we are working on an honorary cooperation with doctors and nurses, having the appropriate rooms already in place.

 

Discussion Group for Women

By gradually introducing women and girls to their new rights, they develop a strengthened confidence and become fundamentally prepared to find their place in society. The oppression of women continues to be a sad reality in many countries and to some extent continues in German refugee shelters. Women and girls coming to Germany have to cope with a downright drastic contrast. For women to not feel insecure and to move past their previous principles, a substantial socio-pedagogical work is needed. These women need to be placed into a framework in which they can open up. The creation of external spaces is a prerequisite for their empowerment. They must be carefully liberated from their environment, thus, giving them the possibility to freely develop themselves outside of their often highly patriarchal family structures. This starts on a basic level: Through bonding and trustbased work, along with the incorporation of theatre-pedagogical approaches, initial awareness of the women’s self-perception, the reflection on new perspectives, and, in some cases, the resolution of past trauma can be achieved. Intimate settings create a friendly atmosphere where women can feel safer over time, step by step. The playful engagement with the alphabet and the German language already constitute fundamental landmarks for women on their long way to a self-determined and independent self.

 

[1] United Nations, 1948, Article 1 (Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood)

[2] United Nations, 1948, Article 2 (Non-Discrimination)