EU Resettlement Network

Volunteering for Refugee Resettlement - report from the 'SHARING through Mentoring' visit to Tampere (21 – 22 April 2015)

Click here to download a copy of the 2-day visit programme, and follow the link to read more about the first ‘SHARING through Mentoring’ Visit to Limburg in February 2015 and the SHARE Network Expert Seminar on Volunteering held in Maastricht in October 2014.

On 21-22 April 2015, in the framework of the SHARE Network's 'SHARING through Mentoring' programme, a delegation from the SHARE Mentor Partnership of VluchtelingenWerk (Dutch Council for Refugees) Limburg and the Dutch municipalities of Sittard-Geleen travelled to the SHARE Learning City of Tampere in Finland. The Limburg delegation of 4 persons was made up of a civil servant from Sittard-Geleen, and the Director, Volunteer Coordinator and Policy Officer of the Dutch Council for Refugees (Limburg).

Hosted by the city of Tampere and their partners the Finnish Red Cross, Lutheran Church in Tampere and Setlementti Naapuri (Settlement Neighbour), the 2-day visit programme provided the Dutch delegation with an opportunity to explore the partnerships, resources and capacity for volunteering in refugee resettlement and integration in the city. The programme began with an overview of refugee resettlement in Tampere, and the municipality-civil society partnerships that support reception, integration and welcome for resettled and other refugees. Classroom-based presentations and discussion introduced delegates to the city’s plans for a new volunteer programme and strategy based on the observations and lessons learned during their visit to Limburg (February 2015).

Civil society participant presentations illustrated the volunteering programmes and practices of the Finnish Red Cross, both nationally and in Tampere, including the broader national context for volunteering in Finland and campaigning on refugee protection. The Lutheran Church shared their experiences of involving local volunteers in their integration work for refugees in Tampere. Site visits to the offices and service centres of the Red Cross, Lutheran Church and Settlement Neighbour presented current volunteering and integration initiatives run by local NGOs in Tampere. Click here to view presentations given the City of Tampere, here by the Finnish Red Cross and here by the Lutheran Church throughout the programme.

The Finnish hosts then introduced the delegation to the TUPA Project, a 2-year volunteering programme financed by the European Refugee Fund (ERF) to provide all refugee households resettled to Tampere with a volunteer to support their orientation and integration. Click here to view a presentation on the TUPA project and here to access presentations given by the NGO Settlement Neighbour during the site visits.

The visit took place in the framework of the SHARE Network's 'SHARING through Mentoring' programme, a thematic city exchange programme focused on volunteering in refugee resettlement. Follow the links for more information on the SHARING through Mentoring Programme and to access the SHARE Volunteering for Refugee Integration Toolkit Publication.  

Photos: Dutch delegation and ICMC Europe receiving an introduction to integration and volunteer programmes in the city of Tampere; the visiting delegation at the Mattila civic house - a meeting place for immigrant-, refugee- and Finnish men, operated by Settlement Neighbour.