NGO Nou Sol’s project ‘Em Construeixo’ focuses on the social integration of migrant people in Catalonia, from a feminist, decolonial, and human rights perspective.
Being able to build intercultural relationships positively and beneficially while achieving social integration in a new country is the main purpose of the project ‘Em Construeixo’ developed by NGO Nou Sol. Arriving in a new region mostly implies building a new life, with all of its requests: learning a new language, obtaining employment, updating the documentation and settling in a new home.
The added value that presents the reception program is that all sessions are developed from a holistic perspective since the person in charge of the classes, Lucía Gaete, shares her personal experience and knowledge as a migrant woman with all participants. She describes what her environment of migrant people is like and explains the information she has acquired thanks to the work she has developed in Nou Sol over the years.
The importance of learning how to handle difficulties in a new country
“Most reception program workshops are designed from a perspective that, for a migrant person, is not entirely useful and there are situations that are not dealt with”, expresses Lucía Gaete, project manager in Nou Sol.
She adds that if no one explains how to manage different specific situations that a person can encounter in a new country, originally from the culture of the territory, it can affect the intercultural relationships of a migrant person. That is to say, the result of ignorance and the lack of understanding of a situation can provoke rejection or frustration.
“If you know how to handle specific situations, you can find it easier to meet new people, and show them what you do and what you can be useful in”, Gaete explains.
The workshop settings
The course follows the basic structure determined in the Catalan Shelter Law, organized into three modules (A, B and C). Nou Sol also performs letter 'D', which specializes in gender. "This is the minimum structure, but we have added workshops in intimate relationships, new masculinities and a basic-level computing course," reveals Nou Sol’s project manager. In addition, they also explain to the participants how the intimate relationships in Catalonia are understood and they incorporate another workshop on migratory mourning.
The entity emphasizes the importance of learning how to use a computer as a tool to manage housing and job search. All workshops are developed with translators, one for each group, in order to ensure that each user receives information without hindrance. If you try to educate a person in an unknown language, the person will hardly learn. “We would not be fulfilling the goal," says Lucía Gaete.
Another service that can be found in the workshops is a childcare space. Many women and families arrive with children in a new country and it is very difficult for them to find a solution to attend classes without leaving them alone.
Every year, there are two programs and, within these, three courses. On the one hand, the extensive course is dedicated to people who are illiterate or have no knowledge of the Catalan language. On the other hand, the two intensive courses are aimed at people who already have little knowledge of Catalan or speak a Hispanic language, a fact that makes learning easier for these participants.
Nowadays, the second program of the year is about to finish: the extensive course and two of the intensive courses end between early November and the second week of December. Different public facilities are the spaces that host the workshops.
Three years of positive results
“We are very proud of the results. This holistic approach was very necessary and useful", explains Lucía Gaete and states that, after maintaining contact with most of the people who have participated in the courses since 2019, they share that their participation and approach in the migrant community is very different from other people that haven’t participated in Nou Sol’s courses. Their knowledge makes them feel stronger.
The results are positive and the users are grateful for the knowledge they have acquired. 'I was scared of speaking about specifics subjects, and thanks to ‘Em Construeixo’ I had the courage of expressing feelings I never dared to share with anyone’ or ‘thank you for teaching this to me because otherwise, I would not have had a chance to act different’, are some of the comments from participants that Gaete shows.
The program will maintain the same structure and, within its future challenges, the most important issue is reaching more people. The organization emphasizes three principal topics: this holistic point of view that marks the difference the position of interculturality that they work and the approach to human rights that allows them a welcome and beneficial integration into our society.