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Weichenstellwerk – Graz

The initiative is implemented by Association Gemeinsam Sicher (Safe Together) and the Municipality of Graz. Initially, there was a lot of presence of Afghan and Syrian asylum seekers in a park in Graz. The people in the neighbourhood felt insecure. The police and a closely located church figured out together how to offer them meaningful alternatives to staying in the park – cost free German language courses, provided by volunteer teachers. The small grassroots-initiative soon become bigger and is now funded and supported by the City of Graz. The objective was to create low threshold accessible education and occupation services for the target group.

The service consists of three components: language training, workshops, and leisure time activities. Uniformed police officers offer workshops on human rights. They consist of input on equal treatment, criminal law, protection against violence. Student teachers voluntarily offer language training, where issues of antidiscrimination, xenophobia and racism are addressed too. Leisure time activities include workshops on arts, music, sports events, hiking, cooking and the like.

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