Language Space and Socialisation for Immigrant women

Project location: SPAIN, Barcelona
Project start date: December 2015 - Project end date: August 2016
Project number: 2015-009
Beneficiary: Associació Intercultural Diàlegs de Dona


The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, Delegació a Catalunya has awarded a grant (year II) for this project.

The main activities are outlined below.


1) Learning the language as the foundation of communication is one of the key points of the program of reception and socialization. It is considered a very important element that facilitates adaptation and integration. However, learning the language or languages of the host country should not be viewed as an end in itself but as an instrument for achieving more ambitious goals, as stated above. It is the beginning of a long journey.
The association follows the recommendations of the Common European Framework for the learning of the foreign oral language for immigrants. The classes are active and participative and the pedagogical team prepares worksheets related to the basic needs of everyday life. They are based on things that are close, from everyday life.
For the association, seriousness and commitment by the students are very important, and for that reason attendance is rigorously registered. The volunteer teachers have to follow up the students individually.
Spanish classes are offered:
A1.0 Literacy, 2 classrooms, mornings and afternoons (for women who have never been to school)
A1.1 Spanish initial level, 6 classrooms, mornings and afternoons (without any notion of Spanish)
A1.2 Basic Spanish, 4 classrooms, mornings and afternoons (able to understand basic phrases but with difficulties to express themselves)
A 2.1 Level 1 advanced Spanish, 2 classrooms, morning and afternoon shift (acceptable level of comprehension and expression)
A2.2 High Spanish, 1 classroom, afternoons. Special classes for the preparation of the examination of access to Spanish Nationality.
Initial Spanish reinforcement (only for students with less than 1 year of residence in Barcelona) 2 classrooms on Friday morning.
Catalan classes:
A1.1 Catalan initial level 1 classroom in the morning from Monday to Thursday. These are intensive courses offered free of charge by the Official Language School of Barcelona for advanced students of Diàlegs de Dona. The hours of Catalan have not been counted since they are carried out outside the institution and are taught by teachers of the Official School of Languages.
Catalan reinforcement 1 conversation room on Fridays.

English classes:
A1.1 Initial English, 1 classroom with twenty places for interested students. Only Fridays.
Enrolled for the 2016-2017 academic year: 220 students (maximum capacity). Team of volunteer teachers: 11 (plus three people who are currently part of the structure who also belong to the team of teachers). As mentioned above, the teachers give 3 hours a week of class per group (12 groups), except: English, Nationality and reinforcements, which are 1: 30h (6 groups). The total hours of class taught in one week are 45 hours (to which we must add the hours of class preparation, creation of materials and meetings of the teaching team).
• Monday / Wednesday Group, 3 morning groups and 3 afternoon groups.
• Tuesday / Thursday Group, 3 morning groups and 3 afternoon groups.
• Friday Group, 6 morning groups.

2) The language learning is always done in parallel with the basic learning of the functioning of the host society to leave behind the insecurities and fears generated by the unknown, allowing to gain autonomy and personal security.
This is why the sessions are organized around thematic units related to everyday topics. It includes worksheets on the operation of the Sanitary System, of the Educational System, of the Social Services, the Administration, Immigration Laws and the renewal of papers, on the regulation that governs the citizen coexistence .... Etc.
Also, topics on knowledge of the environment are included in the program. They are explained and students are encouraged to participate, both in festivities and traditions celebrated as well as in the artistic and cultural manifestations of Catalonia and Spain. At the same time, the students are invited to share the celebrations and traditions of their own cultures (Ramadan, Feast of the Lamb, Diwali ... etc). It is about learning by sharing and making things known.
Finally, cultural outings are made to museums, exhibitions, historical tours of the Roman and Gothic city, the architecture of Gaudí ... etc, as well as more fun and leisurely outings out of the city. Knowing the territory helps to love it and to feel identified with it. It helps to add up identities.

3) Socialization begins with the knowledge of the language, but this is only the beginning, you have to go much further. In parallel, and transversally, the participation of these women in the social and cultural life of the neighbourhood, the city and society in general should be encouraged. It is not an easy task because they come from societies where women are taught to be discreet and invisible in the public space, a space traditionally reserved for men. Thanks to the integral program offered by Diàlegs de Dona, they are gradually gaining confidence and achievements in this regard are becoming more and more evident. Progressively, immigrant women are defining their place in the public space. The objective is to build bridges of dialogue between neighbours who share territory but who belong to different cultures, customs and beliefs. In short, it is a matter, as we have said, of promoting dialogues that promote interculturality, knowing the other and the acceptance by all that the composition of society is changing and that it is up to us that these changes are enriching and constructive of a new reality.
In order to encourage joint participation as neighbours, activities are organized to bring together, joint activities that allow to share moments and spaces, between immigrant and native women, facilitating mutual awareness that will allow the transition from "tolerance towards new neighbours" to full acceptance as equals.
There are different intercultural workshops organized jointly with the three Elderly People centres in the neighbourhood, with the Civic and Cultural Centres and with different entities and associations of the Raval. They are spaces for meeting and exchange of knowledge: sewing, crocheting and knitting, craft work with recycled materials, cooking workshops, floral works ... etc. Creating a relaxed, confident atmosphere that brings people closer.
Another important activity that brings neighbours closer together are the talks, round tables, joint celebrations that help to emphasize everything that unites us culturally but also everything that makes us different but that we have to know and respect.
The above explained is part of the base project of the Diàlegs de Dona Association which is: Reception and Socialization classes for immigrant women. During this year 2017, the association, detecting an urgent need, intends to start a new project, closely linked to the base project, for which it asks the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation for help:
"WOMAN, DON’T LET MATERNITY HOLD YOU BACK" ("Dona que la maternitat no t'aturi")
After four years of experience, a growing need has been detected that the association has decided to address. It is part of the fundamental right to education. It has been said that almost all of the women served are women regrouped by their husbands. They are usually young, many newlyweds, of childbearing age. They will have and educate their children in the new host country. They begin their socialization process in Diàlegs de Dona, to feel accompanied on the way to settling into a new country far away from their family. They begin to create networks of solidarity between partners and then the day comes when they become pregnant. Between 2015 and 2017, 87 cases have been recorded. By having the baby, they know that they will be forced to leave the association for three years: free school in Spain starts at that age and there is no offer of free preschool centres. Three years back home, possibly in isolation. The new mothers also face the challenge of being alone before an experience like maternity without the support of the women of the family that they left behind. In general, a great disorientation and disinformation has been detected in relation to the care of children under three years of age, corroborated by the Paediatric Service of the Raval Health Centre. Three years where they will see their education interrupted and in which they will possibly feel more alone than ever. From Diàlegs de Dona we want to open a new space that, under the motto Woman, don’t let maternity hold you back... aims, on the one hand, to ensure continuity in language learning and participation in all activities related to socialization, and on the other hand, offer information and support in the process of raising their children. This requires an adequate space and specialized staff to attend children from 4 months to 3 years of age (Children's Space) while the mothers attend a language and knowledge of the environment classes. Once the class is over, the mothers will begin a session with their infants (Family Area) where the mother-child affective relationship, so necessary for their harmonic development, will be worked on. On the other hand, they will receive the necessary advice to go through motherhood without anxiety. They will be informed about issues such as Hygiene, good nutrition, baby sleep, vaccinations, paediatric control ... etc.

Therefore, the fundamental objectives are:

• That motherhood does not stop women from continuing or initiating learning the language and knowledge of the environment, a key tool to initiate the process of socialization (language classes)
• To offer quality pre-schooling for all children whose families are in a precarious economic situation (Children's space)
• To end the feeling of loneliness and disorientation faced by many immigrant mothers. To offer them a program of development of the affective mother-child bond and a calm and responsible breeding (Family space)
• To create a meeting place for mothers with children under three years of age, to promote solidarity between them and the creation of networks of mutual help.

The recipients of the project described are women of immigrant origin, of the groups that have already been mentioned, who have been or will be mothers and have an interest in learning. The Diàlegs de Dona Association, with the help of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, wants to ensure respect for fundamental rights: the right of all women to learning and education and the right of children to Early Childhood Care, Education and Protection (UNICEF).
During the last two years, the team of paediatricians at the Raval Health Centre (CAP) has established regular contacts with Diàlegs de Dona in order to detect problems in parenting and work together to plan solutions (one of them has been the creation of this project). In addition, a commitment was made by the Drassanes Civic Centre (municipal space) to collaborate with Diàlegs de Dona on the new project, providing two children's rooms, a classroom for the mothers and an office to meet the needs generated by the development of the project. All this until the new premises of the association, which accounts for the existence of these classrooms, is ready, predictably at the beginning of 2018.

Direct beneficiaries:
Maximum 26 mothers and 26 children, distributed in two timetables:
Monday and Wednesday timetable: 10am to 11:30 p.m. // 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday timetable: 10am to 11:30 am // 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Project Planning and Implementation

Two parallel classrooms will be created:
Language and Knowledge of the environment classroom where mothers can follow or start their training. Sessions of 1h: 30min (from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) simultaneously.
Children's space (Casalet) for children between 4 months and 3 years. Children will find specialized staff who, according to the ages, will offer them suitable activities to motivate them, develop their skills and to stimulate them. It will also be a space where, through games, they will be initiated into good habits and good coexistence between boys and girls. Sessions of 1h: 30min (from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.).
Once the classes are finished, the mothers will enter the Children's Space and it will be transformed into a Family Space (mother-child) and for 1 hour (from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.), a joint session will be started. It will be a place of relationship and learning for both the mother and the child. Everything that can benefit the affective development and the upbringing of the child will be offered. We want to give mothers the information and tools they need to live a responsible maternity with confidence and serenity. As we said previously, this comes from the information that comes from the Paediatric Services that have been observing serious deficiencies in some aspects of parenting that need to be corrected. The program to be developed in the project includes a series of informative talks given by specialists on such important aspects as: food, hygiene, rest, habits, importance of paediatric control, vaccinations ... etc. In this regard, it should be said that the Association has a mediator-translator (Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi) to ensure that the message reaches all mothers.

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