The Workshop is a community where refugees, locals, and foreign volunteers come together to share knowledge and fun allowing our students a space to gather and learn outside of a camp setting.
We are dedicated to providing high-quality, personal, and practical education, ranging from survival communication to professional skills-building.
“For the first time I am in a good place in my life. I am glad I can have a good time here, in a place where I can learn with people from all around the world. The teachers teach with soul”
- Reza, English and Serbian student
WE AIM TO
provide a safe educational space for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants based in Belgrade
reduce the learning gap through informal education and help build skills for the future
mitigate feelings of restlessness and frustration that stem from living in camp conditions
facilitate integration into Serbia and the rest of Europe
“I enjoy coming to The Workshop not only because of its positive and encouraging atmosphere, but also because it is a space that seeks to empower and give agency to individuals through education"
- Gurpal, Admin Intern and Volunteer Teacher
Our doors are open for any refugee in Belgrade who is looking for educational support, or a safe and welcoming space.
We aim to work with local schools to supplement formal education with our extra-curricular classes, in order for the students to keep up with their peers. Also, by recruiting volunteers from universities throughout Belgrade and organising community outreach projects and events, we offer students a bridge to Serbian culture and society, encouraging integration.
For the 2018 academic school year, only 12% of 14-18 year-old refugees were enrolled in school, with nobody over the age of 18 receiving the opportunity to attend formal classes. Coincidentally, this is our largest demographic of beneficiaries. For these students who are not enrolled in Serbian schools,our focus has been on language development, professional skills building, and developing an understanding of European learning styles and culture.
In April 2017 two independent organizations established during the ‘European Refugee Crisis’ in Serbia, Refugee Aid Serbia and NorthStar, opened The Workshop in Belgrade. Following the effective closure of the Hungarian border with Serbia through the building of a border fence in 2016, and with an increase in hostility toward refugees in neighbouring countries, the number of refugees in Serbia swelled by the end of the year. What had previously been a transit country along the “Balkan Route” was now a place where those seeking safety were stranded. Both NorthStar and Refugee Aid Serbia recognised the changing needs of the refugee population, from immediate aid to more structural and sustainable support, with education being a key component.
The Workshop serves as a safe learning and recreational space for refugees living in the Belgrade area, mainly those who reside in the city’s Asylum Centre, Krnjaca. The centre began by offering survival English classes, expanding over time to meet all levels. Today the Workshop has developed curricula for Serbian, German, French, Mathematics, and I.T., in addition to providing a variety of recreational workshops and excursions to museums and other cultural centres in Belgrade.
In our two years of operation, we have been constantly working to adapt to the needs of our beneficiaries, and find new ways to encourage integration. Now we are looking to expand our reach through a new community outreach programme, which we will conduct in cities throughout Serbia. Learn more here.