Building Bridges Statement

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.

Case studies are successful implemented examples sharing with you what is going on in the SCI movement on the topic of refugees and migration.


Monthly or weekly activities with asylum seeking kids

When: Ongoing since 2014

Contact / Source: SCI Switzerland

    Context and idea
    Since spring 2014 a group of eight SCI volunteers in Bern, Switzerland has been organising creative activities once per month for the children from asylum seeking families, who live in the transit centre in Lyss, which is located outside of the capital city, Bern. The activities contain different kind of aspects like team building, movement or emotions.  

    The activities are conducted by a group of around six volunteers. Usually, two of the volunteers, who change on a rotation basis, are responsible for preparing a program for the visit. In the beginning a professional theatre pedagogue used to take over the lead in order to train the volunteers, so they could carry on later on their own. Apart from the eight starting SCI volunteers there has been an increase of another eight interested volunteers, who joined later.

    Objectives and aim
    Through play and creative outlet, the objective is to strengthen the confidence and self-esteem of the children, for example by conducting different kind of games through theatre or dance. The goal is to create a space where the children can play and experiment. 

    For the future there is an aim to conduct the activities together with Swiss children and children from asylum seeking families to enable an exchange amongst the children, foster intercultural understanding and reduce prejudices.

    Target groups
    One target group are the children of asylum seeking families from the transit centre Lyss ranging from the age of 3 to 14 years old. Another target group are the young people from the area who are interested in volunteering with children from different cultures. And if possible even local children can be attracted to join this project.

    History and description
    Theatre Escape Lyss is a follow up and going back to the roots of the Theatre Escape workcamps (you can read more about them here). The motivation behind Theatre Escape Lyss was to continue the basic idea of these workcamps. Another motivation was to build up a consistency by offering such activities every month.

    Public relations
    Two different articles about the project have been published in SCI Switzerland’s magazines. On the website of Theatre Escape (in German and French) there is a description about the regular activities at the transit centre in Lyss.

    Evaluation methods
    After every afternoon the group sits together to give feedback on the activity. The core group and other interested volunteers meet on a regular basis every few months.  

    Sustainability and follow up
    A benefice concert was conducted by students at a high school in Bern in spring 2014. The money was donated to support the Theatre Escape Lyss. The volunteer group also switched to organising the activities themselves instead of hiring theatre pedagogues in order to be more sustainable.

    SCI volunteers in Zürich had initiated a similar project in the local transit centre Hegnau.



      You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.