Millions of people are forced to leave their homes and seek shelter from conflict, violence, persecution or natural disasters in their countries. The majority of today’s refugees live in developing countries, which means they are fleeing countries that are struggling with poverty and hard work in their own society. The flow of migration affects transit countries, such as Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Italy. Turkey is the country hosting the most refugees in the world, with more than 3 million refugees. The EU and Turkey provide shelter, food, hygiene, pleasant children’s spaces, assistance to reunite the refugee family through government organizations. They are also provided with education, but their social integration usually depends on the availability of assistance provided by local NGOs and international organizations. From this perspective, due to the level of capacity of non-governmental organizations, there is a lack of coordination, quality, equipment, tools and methodologies for providing education especially for adult refugees.
The innovative part of this project is a methodological approach for adult education. In principle, it is a combination of two important theories: “Theory of Experiential Learning” by David A. Kolb and “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paolo Freire.
David A. Kolb – American scientist – who develops a cycle of experiential learning that is recognized by global institutions such as UNESCO, the European Commission and the Council of Europe, claims that people learn from their experiences. Kolb’s experiential learning theory consists of a four-phase learning cycle: experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Experiential learning is a methodology that includes learning games and simulative games where participants develop their sense of empathy by experiencing an emotional process through the game.
The other theory on which our project is based is the “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” that generates a methodology for localizing experiential learning tools. Paolo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher, is best known for his most important work, “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, which is considered one of the basic texts of the critical pedagogical movement. According to Fréire, the educational program should take into account the realities and background of the people. Educators should start a dialogue with the participants in order to discover the real world of the participants involved in the education itself, to see their understandings, values and real problems.
The project will develop the capacities of non-governmental organizations, and this will be achieved by training adults. Trainers will not only develop experiential learning, a methodology for key competencies for adult refugees, but that will be done by adult refugees who will be involved in the whole process. Participation will be the main methodology of the project itself.
The project has a special added value in the field of European non-formal education, as it combines the methodology of experiential learning and the pedagogy of the oppressed groups. This innovative activity will create a new methodology for localizing the tools for experiential learning, and at the same time it will use them for the education and integration of refugees.