IncluCities Study Visits

From France to Greece

IncluCities is starting the 3rd and at the same time the last round of Study Visits to the mentee cities.

A very valuable opportunity to learn more about the current situation related to integration and inclusion of migrants on the ground, boost the relationship between the two mentoring cities and associations, check where they are in the process of change and to help them consolidate the city's action plan. These Study Visits are organised by the participating cities and the associations of local and regional governments.

From 24 to 26 April we visited Saint Jean de la Ruelle, part of Orleans in France. family photo SJDLR  

Together with Brulocalis, BAPA Brussels as part of the City of Brussels, and the consultant Migration Work, we were welcomed in the city of Saint-Jean de la Ruelle to learn how the city is preparing to implement change related to migrant women's inclusion. The municipality and the AFCCRE organised an electoral evening on 24th (to see the results and learn more about the votes of the French presidential elections). On day two, there was a meeting with the mayor of Saint Jean de la Ruelle Mr Christophe Chaillou. Deputy Mayor Fabien Riviere da Silva took participants on a tour across the city to see the points relevant for migrant inclusion from housing, cultural community buildings, libraries, and facilities for children's daycare. He explained the development and current state of integration-related programmes. The afternoon was dedicated to the presentation of the projects Maison des Femmes and Mision Egalite, followed by work in groups on topics related to migrant women integration. The last morning of the visit continued with the exchanges, lessons learned from Brussels partners and a recap of the study visit.

Merci Saint-Jean de la Ruelle and a bientot!

Fabien busthe busfamily photo bus SJDLmeeting SJDLmayor

 

23 - 25 May IncluCities Study Visit in Jelgava, Latvia (LALRG)

This time we went to Latvia, the visit was hosted by the city of Jelgava and supported by the Latvian association of local and regional governments (LALRG). CEMR, together with BRULOCALIS, representatives from the mentor city Schaerbeek and Migration Work learned about existing local practices around integration in Jelgava.

Latvia has approximately 2 million inhabitants. Latvian is the official state language and one of the oldest languages in Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic countries. It is boarded by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden.

Jelgava family 1

The special focus was on their recent challenge, welcoming refugees from Ukraine. Amongst others, we met two Oksanas from Ukraine who found refuge with their children in Jelgava. They have a job, children go to school and they hope one day to go back home. Until then, they are happy to be safe in a country that is very much like Ukraine. 

jelgava6

Currently, there are over 1000 refugees who fled the war in Ukraine residing in Jelgava. Due to the rapid and unpredicted migration in the context of the war in Ukraine, Jelgava had to set up an operational information centre to offer newcomers immediate support in registering, housing, access to basic services, education, and employment. The city that is not used to hosting so many people from elsewhere, welcomed refugees from Ukraine in a warm way. As we have heard from the Ukrainian refugees themselves, they like it in Latvia. "The landscape is similar to the one in Ukraine, people can speak Russian, so we can communicate well. Children also go to the Russian schools in Jelgava, which makes things much easier." Around one-third of the population of Latvia are Russians.

Integration of newcomers through language learning and acquiring knowledge of the Latvian history and traditions is a long term goal of integration that Jelgava is also following in the IncluCities theme: Improving formal and informal opportunities for language learning for newcomers and established minorities. This study visit explored opportunities and initiatives already in place and reflected on future actions that could improve their local integration and inclusion practices.

 jelgava 2jelgava11jelgava7jelgava 8

Agenda 

The next Study Visits:

  • 13 - 15 June IncluCities Study Visit in Capaci, Italy (AICCRE)
  • 14 - 16 June IncluCities Study Visit in Levadia, Greece (KEDE)