285 children from Ukraine in Gelsenkirchen schools

A blackboard hangs on a wall. Photo: pixabay

Gelsenkirchen. 285 children and young people from Ukraine are already learning in schools in Gelsenkirchen. It informs the city administration.

With integration and language courses, various sports activities, international remedial classes and much more, the city of Gelsenkirchen supports new immigrants and refugees when they arrive and integrate. Nearly 2,000 people came to Gelsenkirchen from Ukraine in a few weeks to seek refuge from the war. After the short-term creation of housing and care capacities was in focus in the first weeks and finally the placement in private housing was an important task, the task of establishing and expanding the education and care infrastructure is now becoming more important.

“Here we can fall back on experiences and offers from 2015, when many people from Syria came to us,” says City Councilor Anne Heselhaus, whose board area includes culture, education, youth, sports and integration.

When you arrive, find your way around, language is very important. “It presents challenges for us, but I am glad that the integration and language courses are in high demand from people from Ukraine,” the city councilor said. The start of a new integration course at the adult education center (VHS) is planned for early June. In addition, the Adult Education Center is investigating whether the range of integration courses can be further expanded. Learning the language can also be facilitated by offers from the city library. “The City Library offers all refugees, not just those from Ukraine, a temporary, free trial ID. For example, it was also well received by the Syrian refugees, ”explains Anne Heselhaus.

The language training course “Fit in Deutsch” is aimed at newly immigrated school children. It gives a boost to children who do not have sufficient language skills to attend classes in regular classes. It is offered during the Easter, summer and autumn holidays. “Thanks to the initiative of the Municipal Integration Center, 29 Ukrainian children were able to participate in the program during the Easter holidays,” says City Councilor Heselhaus. The municipal integration center takes care of school integration of migrant children and young people and directs them to suitable Gelsenkirchen schools with international help classes. Meanwhile, 285 children and young people from Ukraine already have a school place.

For the little ones up to six years without a daycare place, there are offers in 16 so-called “handy” or eight “meerkat” groups, in the family centers and also in nurseries. In addition, there is a new format within the framework of a playgroup in Kinderstube Gabelsbergerstraße for Ukrainian children and their families. GeKita also offers a total of eleven “Kita entrance groups” spread over ten day care institutions. These are aimed at families with a refugee or immigrant background.

“While the crèches are a low-threshold offer with a very good degree of care for newly immigrated families, the meerkat group is something for children of preschool age and just to promote, for example, language acquisition as a basis for multilingualism, even in the youngest children up to three years. There is also Mobile Kita, which has been tried and tested for years, ”explains Anne Heselhaus. About 200 Ukrainian children up to the age of six currently live in Gelsenkirchen. At the end of May, GeKita received 27 registrations from Ukrainian children. Of these, nine children from Ukraine have already been offered a place in kindergarten, and three children have been offered a place.

To perform “valuable work” on a voluntary basis

“Voluntary commitment and refugee assistance in the district do a valuable job for the offers around the shared housing and in the districts. The refugee assistance in the district is supported by the welfare working group and the women’s counseling for refugees. It is also the welfare organizations that have taken over the care in the common residents, ”says Anne Heselhaus. The refugee aid in the district offers advice and help and is also well networked with municipal institutions. “After the refugees received initial information and advice at Info-Point Ukraine in Emscher-Lippe-Halle, the refugee aid in the district takes the next steps and offers specific and concrete help on the spot,” says Heselhaus.

Gelsensport is also an important partner in caring for refugees. Many clubs followed a call from Gelsensport to get involved. The sports and exercise offers that are gathered in this way are gathered in a leaflet, which is distributed in the shared housing and via the refugee assistance in the district. Gelsensport also asked the shared housing which gaming and sports materials were needed. Open motion offers, such as on the Consol page, were also presented.

“Various youth associations and municipal youth centers have also contacted Ukrainian refugees and also provide offers in the shared housing. For example, the Jugendring Gelsenkirchen supplies play material in Emscher-Lippe-Halle, the Driburger Straße youth center is very active in the former Mehringschule, and the Buerer Straße youth center accompanies Ukrainian families in the neighborhood, ”says Anne Heselhaus.

Anne Heselhaus is pleased that Gelsenkirchen has a close-knit network of different actors with a variety of offerings: “I would like to express my thanks to everyone for their commitment and good cooperation.”

According to the city administration, about two-thirds of the 1,969 people who fled Ukraine in Gelsenkirchen are women and girls. The age structure of people from Ukraine is as follows: 201 people are under 6 years and 518 people between 6 and 18 years. 1,246 people are over 18 years old.

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