Global refugee movements are one of the key challenges of our time – politically, economically and socially. With its existing projects, Siemens Stiftung helps improve the living situation in countries of origin and integrate refugees in Germany.
Since it was founded, Siemens Stiftung has been committed to securing basic services, promoting high-quality education, and fostering international understanding using culture as part of its operational work. Its focus is on developing and emerging countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, as well as Europe and Germany. The longstanding international programs it establishes and implements together with partners help improve the situation of people in the countries of origin and integrate refugees in their destination country.
Science and technology education as an opportunity
The international education project Experimento supports educators in providing real-world science and technology instruction, even in heterogeneous classes, with the aid of teaching and learning materials and methods. The extensive program’s experimentation instructions for preschools and elementary schools will soon also be available in Arabic free of charge on Siemens Stiftung’s media portal.
Created from the partnership with the Center for Multilingualism in Early Childhood (Zentrum für kindliche Mehrsprachigkeit e.V. / zkm), the language learning software KIKUS digital enables language to be taught in a modern, systematic way. The aim of the joint project is to improve the language skills of children from different cultural backgrounds through the use of state-of-the-art media. The language learning software is likewise available free of charge on Siemens Stiftung’s media portal.
Siemens Stiftung has also launched the project “Integration through STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at the Berchtesgaden Student Research Center together with the TUM School of Education in Munich and sponsored by the State of Bavaria. The project offers young refugees who do not attend school not only language courses, but also career guidance and preparation for vocations in computer science, technology or mechanical engineering.
Promoting integration in the working world
Numerous German companies already offer training and work opportunities designed specifically for refugees. But unfortunately, these offerings do not always reach their target group. “Help shape your own integration” is the slogan under which Siemens Stiftung and The DO School in Berlin have launched the “Bridging Challenge.” In a workshop lasting several weeks, refugees and experts develop solutions together to plug the gap between what is offered and the refugees’ abilities.
New perspectives thanks to project work at the grassroots
Siemens Stiftung has already worked for several years to improve education and basic services in developing and emerging countries, mainly in rural regions. The goal of the projects is to improve living conditions for people and their means to make a livelihood.
As part of that, Siemens Stiftung above all promotes personal initiative and an entrepreneurial mindset and offers practical training in cooperation with local organizations. The focus is on instilling basic business know-how and elementary technical proficiency. The goal is to open up economic and social perspectives for young people in Kenya who are already self-employed or wish to start their own small businesses.
With the Safe Water Enterprises, Siemens Stiftung is working to provide a sustainable supply of clean drinking water in remote regions of Kenya. The same solution is also offered in Uganda and Tanzania. It can basically be used as a technical solution for filtration of drinking water in all countries and so also as a means of income for communities. The water is sold at an affordable price in small kiosks. This means people have not only clean drinking water, but also employment and the chance to earn a living.
Siemens Stiftung supports a similar principle with the company Solar Fountain gGmbH it has jointly established with Solarkiosk AG. Solar Fountain gGmbH will enable a financially sustainable supply structure. At its core is a solar-driven kiosk that produces electricity, filters dirty water and offers vital everyday products in an eco-friendly way. Establishment of this company will lead to the creation of organizational structures that are crucial to the growth and regional expansion of the kiosk projects and will enable a larger range of products to be offered. Siemens Stiftung sees itself as an entrepreneurial foundation that itself builds projects and necessary organizational structures with the aim of enabling financial sustainability. In the case of Solar Fountain, this is ensured by a joint venture model.
Siemens Stiftung is planning to expand activities for refugees as part of its existing strategy and core competences so as to enable effective project work in this spirit together with partners.