Federation of Adult Education Associations
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Integration of the Somali Community into Europe.

 Integration of the Somali Community into Europe
Strategies for the teaching and learning of second languages in oral tradition cultures.

Project Socrates-Grundtvig 1

Project web-site, with information and links to related websites.

Objective

The objective of the project is to favour the integration of the Somali Community into each of the countries that participate in the project. It also aims at studying whether the project proposals are valid for other minority communities which have similar characteristics. The history and size of the Somali community in each of the partner countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Finland) is quite different.

There are a lot of misunderstandings about the Somali culture, provoked, mostly, by the social isolation experienced by many of the families that arrived in the partner countries. Somalia suffered a civil war in 1991 which caused over a million of displaced people. It was not until 1972 that Somalia had a written language. The nomadic nature of the Somali people makes the spoken word be very valued. It also makes poetry be the key element of culture. Each clan has a poet whose duty is to compose poems for all occasions and to pass them on to younger generations. Poems are rarely written and the poet’s skills are greatly respected.

There are three aspects that must be taken into account when developing proposals that intend to favour the Somali social integration: the forced displacement due to war reasons; the difficulties of the integration in European cultures and countries; and the oral nature of their language. The integration in a culture where everything is written is the great challenge that the Somali community faces up.

In the partner countries there is a small number of Somali people that work for the social integration of their community. However, these people are not always well-trained. In most cases, these Somali “trainers” do not have enough knowledge of their host language so as to teach it in an appropriate way.

The working experience with Somali communities in Western European countries shows that there is a lack of well-trained Somali trainers. The academic requirement and qualifications needed for currently available training prevents many Somali trainers taking part. Moreover, currently available training is not tailored to the nomadic culture and oral tradition of the Somali community.

This project, then, will develop training modules which are designed specifically for the Somali trainers and will use teaching methods appropriate for their culture, such as poetry, interactive theatre and verbal communication. These modules will be innovative, will overcome the barriers to learning resulting from being war refugees and the trauma of war, will include methods of inclusive education and will give accreditation for prior learning and experience.

The objective of the project is to develop a module which contains methodological guiding for teacher training and a module to improve the Somalis’ host language learning and skills, adapted to their needs and characteristics. We also think that the Somalis’ characteristics and features are similar to those of other migrant or minority communities. That is why the final products will be adapted to and tested in other groups so as to be a referent for new proposals.

The role of FAEA within the project

FAEA will play two roles within the project: firstly, it will be responsible for the publishing and dissemination of the final products; secondly, it will validate the project proposals with other minority groups. For that purpose, FAEA:

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FAEA. Federation of Adult Education Associations.
faea@faea.es  -  http://www.faea.es