The "Lerncafes" (learning cafes), a free afternoon educational support project focused on education and social integration, are a highly successful and internationally recognized service that has been established by Caritas in Austria during the past years. At in total 56 "Lerncafe" locations, children from refugee and migrant families, as well as from host communities get access to free study support to succeed in school, enhance their language and social skills as well as afternoon care.
Even before the Corona pandemic not every child managed to master school with all the challenges posed alone. For many parents it is simply not possible to support their children adequately with their tasks and preparations and their children are at risk of falling behind. In addition, the Corona crisis has made it clear that school closures and home schooling greatly exacerbate educational deficits and inequalities within the student population and efforts have to be intensified prevent this.
"Lerncafes" are open to children between 6-15 years, who are enrolled in primary or secondary schools. They offer free learning support in order to reduce early drop-out rates, promote motivation to study, help prepare for exams and teach lasting social skills. Further in times of school closures the Lerncafes still provide remote support for their students, support them in doing homework and sometimes also just lend an ear to worries of children finding themselves in an unprecedented situation.
Education is the best way to prevent poverty on the long-run. Targeted educational measures that are improving the situation of socially disadvantaged people are therefore a prerequisite for quick integration; especially in regards to children. By providing students with deprived backgrounds with free educational support in the afternoon a framework is built that enables them to do well at school and further gain access to institutions of higher education too and escape poverty on the long-run.