Every week 3 million people move to a new city, and there are several reasons for a family or individual to be forced to leave their home. Whether for a better life or the urgency of a war scenario, the problem of integration arises in the challenges migrants and refugees find in their destination. Language barrier, lack of friends and family and bureaucratic processes are one side of the coin, while ethnic and religious discrimination are the other. SPEAK fights against the social exclusion of migrants and refugees caused by social barriers, discrimination, and anti-migrant rhetoric.
SPEAK promotes the organic emergence of communities where newcomers and locals meet to share their culture and develop meaningful bonds by providing the platform and support for individuals to facilitate informal language learning environments and host community events offline.
While people learn with each other, they are breaking barriers and creating meaningful relationships, creating a multicultural community based on equality where cultural heritage is cherished. Members often help each other with job offers or renting their first house in a new city thanks to the power of their SPEAK community.
The program is entirely composed of members of the SPEAK community, making beneficiaries responsible for their own transformation and integration process. This approach represents a more effective solution to the problem when compared to other initiatives, like traditional language classes, because both newcomers and locals participate actively in the solution, simultaneously teaching and sharing their language and learning from others. It places migrants and refugees as bridge builders and ambassadors for cultural dialogue in their communities, empowering newcomers to take action, as they are not only guests or receivers anymore -
they also become hosts and add value to the community.
The team also trains newcomers willing to set up SPEAK in their city, so that they can help it become more inclusive and at the same time create their own job.