Building Bridges Toolkit

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.

Case studies are successful implemented examples sharing with you what is going on in the SCI movement on the topic of refugees and migration.


A two-week workcamp ending with a theatre play

When: Ongoing since 2009

Contact / Source: SCI Switzerland

    Context and Idea
    The Theatre Escape workcamps (TheaterFlucht in German or ThéâtrEvasion in French) are two-week workcamps that take place during school holidays in Switzerland. In the first week, a group of international and Swiss volunteers receive an introduction to the topic of migration and asylum, as well as methods for playing theatre and working with children. The volunteers are guided in this process by drama teachers and they plan and organize together the second week of the workcamp.

    This second week brings together kids from asylum-seeking families and Swiss kids. During 5 days the kids are accompanied by the volunteers and learn various creative ways to express themselves. The process is guided by the drama teachers and as a result a short creative production comes to life. It is presented in front of the families and friends of the children at the end of the workcamp. The production can have various forms and include theatre, music, dance or circus. It depends on the teachers (in some camps, there are also music, dance or circus teachers) and the talents and interests of the children. For example, in Zurich (2013), it was a tv-and-live-talk-show on the topic of “Future and Jobs”.

    Objectives and aim
    The main aim of the project is to give children, who are fleeing from war, poverty or distress the opportunity to discover new creative ways to express themselves together with Swiss and other migrant children living in the area. To achieve this, the above-described one week of creative day-vacation is organised. The main objective of this week is to bring Swiss kids and kids from asylum seeking centres in contact, so they can learn about different cultures and migration from difficult areas in the world into Switzerland. An objective is also to let the kids follow their own interests and be creative. In addition, the international group of volunteers add up to the ‘coming together of different cultures and backgrounds’, and they themselves learn more about issues of asylum and migration, they learn methods for drama animation with kids and have a great experience at the same time.

    Target groups

    • Children in primary or early secondary education, from Swiss schools and asylum seeking centres.
    • Other stakeholders
    • Local workcamp partners, who host the workcamp in the particular place;
    • Drama/music/circus teachers who take part in the workcamp (e.g. Métis’Arte – a group of drama teachers). 

    History and description
    Theatre Escape started was first developed as a pilot project in Zürich in 2009 by SCI Switzerland and the centre for youth culture Dynamo. Since 2011 SCI Switzerland has expanded the project to more cities. Since 2013 projects have been realized in various cities in Switzerland, in both the German- and French-speaking parts.

    Public relations
    Several video material has been produced in order to increase the visibility for the projects. Find the links below.

    Evaluation methods
    Evaluation and feedback is received from all people involved: volunteers fill in special evaluation forms, camp coordinators write an evaluation report, an external SCI-camp visitor visits the camps and writes a report and the project partner fills in an evaluation form as well.

    These projects consume a huge budget (for the local project preparation, renting rooms in the city centre, remunerating the drama/music/circus teachers involved, transport, material & food). Therefore SCI does fundraising on national level (especially among private foundations, but as well the public sector) and combines it with local fundraising, made by the project partners.

    Sustainability and follow up
    The workcamp is repeated and introduced to more cities within Switzerland and beyond. A Theatre Escape workcamp has also been organised by volunteers from SCI Austria in Vienna. As a result from it, a group of former volunteers from these workcamps started implementing a similar idea in a transition centre for asylum seekers in Lyss (CH) at regular intervals (i.e. once a month, like it used to be when the project started 2009 in Zurich).


    Video about Theatre Escape from SCI Austria 2013:


    You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.