SCI workcamps with asylum seekers and refugees usually take place in a reception or transit centre. In this case it’s useful to discuss and prepare the project with your hosts – the organisation, the institution or the staff that maintains the centre. Proceed as follows:
- Contact the hosts first in order to ask about interest towards a project, and then meet them. Explain what SCI is, what a voluntary workcamp is, etc.
- Speak about the needs of the centre and its inhabitants and design the project together based on these needs (e.g. renovation, not enough free-time activities for children, etc).
- Speak about possible challenges of the project and find solutions together.
- Speak about how the hosts can contribute with their skills and knowledge to the project – make sure they share all the information you need to know in order to create a safe environment for your volunteers and for the inhabitants.
- Find out the house rules of the centre: Can you go out of the house with children from the centre? Can volunteers stay with the asylum seekers after their work? Are there special rules for clothing, behaviour etc.?
- Are there other events planned at the time of the project/workcamp?
- After you have decided on a project together, make a contract with the host (check contract draft in SCI’s Practical Procedures).
Involve the camp coordinator in the planning as soon as possible. Explain interaction between camp coordinator and host when preparing camp coordinators.
It is also worthwhile to think about preparing people living in reception centers before and giving them an idea of what volunteering is. A great method would be having local activities in the centre already before the project/workcamp takes place, so people know about SCI and what kind of activities there could be. Take different approaches:
- Meeting and speaking about what will happen in the camp.
- Putting up posters, so people can read about the project (including images, so people can imagine what is going to happen and understand if they can’t read the language)