The initiative Talk with Me – Voluntary Language Mentors for Refugees was implemented on local level in Bulgaria, Germany and Romania, by, respectively, Tulip Foundation, Bulgaria, Gemeinsam leben & lernen in Europa, Germany and Centrul de Voluntariat Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The main idea of this project was to create an easy-to-multiply framework that could be used in various places in order to facilitate the integration of refugees in the host communities. A context had to be created where people with different backgrounds, locals and refugees, get to meet and start to develop a relationship. An unconventional language course was conceived that would get young people to really connect, share their experiences and explore each other`s culture, providing a comfortable environment for this purpose.
A volunteer programme was designed, lasting 10 weeks, implying 10 meetings for local young people, in which they participate as language mentors for refugees their own age. Each volunteer is matched with a refugee and they meet in pairs and discuss different topics each week, for approximately one hour. Conversation and learning/teaching a foreign language were used as a tool for building a bridge between cultures. During this process the student/teacher roles are interchangeable and the school-like atmosphere is replaced with a more casual one that favours trust, and friendship.