The education and participation package (often designated as education package) provides services that supports families with low income to allow their children participate in the area of social, educational and extracurricular activities. This includes financial support for school trips, excursion, extra-moral classes, school books, student transportation, tuition, lunch catering in the day-care center, school and after-school and contributions to the club membership.
Seven months after the introduction of education and participation package, as an indication of the German Association of Cities and the German County Association, only 44% of eligible families have taken the opportunity offered. The statistics of participants who receive social and housing support lays at 50%. The problem here is not only the low overall utilization of this possibility, but also the use of learning support, which currently stands at just 3%.
Lack of German language skills often prevent many targeted immigrant families, to claim these benefits for their children. Children and young people miss valuable participation and funding opportunities. At this point, the project “Be There! – tips and tricks for education package of AfricanTide Union eV.” springs in. The aim of the project is to feed people with migration background with targeted information and advice, to enable immigrants to better understand their own requirements in terms of the education package and help them with the application. This means that not only the immigrants of our network were addressed, however, through our network, representatives of other migrant organizations in Dortmund who are trained in information sessions about the content of the educational package and thus are multipliers.
We have assisted parents of children with a migrant background through two steps. First of all, we have offered once a month, a three-hour information session in which we informed about the opportunities that arise from the educational package for children from low-income families. During these events general issues regarding the education package have been resolved. To this extent, representatives of other migrant organizations in Dortmund were invited to participate. Through our joint efforts, we were able to reach several people. We have also benefited from our close cooperation with our partner, the association of socio-cultural immigrant organizations Dortmund e.V. (VMDO), as many organizations that are members participated in that project.
In support of the information sessions AfricanTide Union e.V. offered individual counseling. We have evaluated the entitlement of the parents regarding their children’s education package claim, helping them with the necessary application, whether it be with the schools, city council, Jobcenter clubs, music schools and other facilities. This advice was offered three times a week for three hours. Our consultations were predominantly in English, German and French languages and our network enabled us to organize a short-term consultancy in another language too.