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 all over Austria during the past years. On various locations, children from refugee and migrant families, as well as from host communities have access to free study support in order to succeed in school as well as enhance their language and social skills.
Not every child manages to master the 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. There are many reasons for this: not enough money for extra tuition, too few affordable childcare places, a low level of education of the parents themselves or simply deficits in the German language skills can make it impossible for children to achieve the desired and predetermined learning success.
"Lerncafes" are open to children between six and 15 years, who are enrolled in primary or secondary schools in Austria. They offer free learning support in order to reduce the early drop-out rates from school, to promote motivation to study and to prepare for a successful graduation. At the "Lerncafes" students get support in doing their homework, studying for exams as well as learning lasting social skills and a sense of community.
Education is the best way to prevent poverty on the long-run. Targeted educational measures that are aiming to improve the situation of socially disadvantaged people are therefore a prerequisite for quick integration; especially in regards to children and teenagers. 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 gain access to institutions of higher education too.