The "bull's eye" shows how students liked RespAct
RespAct held a workshop for classes of students, both “welcome” and regular, at the vocational school in Starnberg, Bavaria – and met excited and motivated students
When you talk with Ahmed* about respect, you see immediately how important it is for him: “Respect is a huge topic”, he explains vividly into the camera, “every child should know what that is. It is important for the whole life”.
It is Wednesday afternoon at the local vocational school in Starnberg and the youth of our RespAct workshop collect the results of the last three days. The students of one regular and one “welcome” class, composed of unaccompanied young refugees, have been meeting every day this week and have been working together to improve their teamwork, social interaction and media- and presentation skills. One method to improve empathy was especially successful. The young participants wrote an activity and nominated a classmate to carry it out , without knowing that they would have to carry them out themselves in the end. “This method is really useful”, RespAct peer educator Jana Gottschalk says. “Days later the participants were still talking about it. It is important to learn that you shouldn’t ask others to do something that you yourself are not willing to do”.
“Many students realize that they can positively change their environment”
In another proven method of the RespAct project, students discuss in a team what they would change about their environment and present it to the class. “Many realize for the first time that they can actively shape their local areas and work with companies and municipal organisations as cooperation partners”, Jana says. Some girls of both classes felt insecure each time they had to walk home in the dark: “We would like to have more light on streets and walkways to enhance security”. Others wanted to have a supermarket in their village so they could buy food more easily. The next step for the students is to organise themselves and talk about their suggestions with decision makers. RespAct supports participants with this as well.
“I learned how important it is to help others”
Jana looks happily back upon a successful workshop: “The youth were motivated and excited to work together – they worked concentrated and respectfully in groups and practised talking in front of a camera”. It was nice to see how fast the youth from both classes grew comfortable with each other and how easily friendships developed. “In the end, language was not so much of an obstacle as expected. All it usually needs is space for participants to get to know each other in a meaningful way”, Jana concludes.
At the end of the day, the young people gather around Jana to thank her. “I learned a lot – how to best work in a team and how important it is to interact with others politely and respectfully”, tells Nour*. Ania* adds: “I learned how important it is to help those with problems. That was a lot of fun. RespAct also helps students to improve their German and to communicate effectively. That is very important”.
We warmly thank all participants of the Starnberg vocational school for your cooperation, your ideas and your motivation. Most of all we would like to thank all supporters of the RespAct project. Without you, this workshop would not have been possible. Thank you!!
*out of respect for the particular situation of our participants we will not publish any recognizable pictures of them. Names are changed.