Good practice: “Welcome to Belgium” Pedagogical kits (Mallettes pedagogiques “Bienvenue en Belgique”)

A Belgian initiative of Lire et Écrire, avalable in French. ‘’Bienvenue en Belgique’’, since 2010,  aims at the promotion of literacy, civic, health & Personal and interpersonal capabilities among immigrants and refugees. 

The EAEA also contributed the project ‘Lire et Écrire’ for adult education practitioners who work on improving migrants’ literacy skills, consisting of training to use pedagogical kits on different themes relevant to everyday life in Belgium: Living together, Housing, Health, Education, Employment and social security, Everyday life, Residency statuses and migration, and Institutions. These kits give migrants a broad overview of social, cultural and environmental aspects of life in their new host country, thus giving them capabilities to integrate into their new setting more quickly. These pedagogical kits can also be used to teach basic skills to a native Belgian audience (including young people) or used as part of a broader reflection on society. Through its use, a critical reflection on the society in which the participants live is fostered, and this is transferable to various audiences.

Using photos instead of other types of pictures to work on life skills and social issues with people lacking basic literacy skills decreases the impact of a specific culture, whereas the interpretation of photos are less dependent on the culture of the participants and enable people to communicate more easily in spite of cultural differences. All the proposed activities in the program are designed to be fun and playful, which improves learning, and are based on the participants exchanging their knowledge rather than on top-down information. A team of several people always designs these kits and that is crucial as it improves creativity in the conception of the activities. Users of the kits have the possibility to send ideas and examples of new activities they have come up with and used successfully in their groups. The kits are thus a living process and this collective dimension of the tool is highly important as people can take part in its further elaboration by proposing new activities.

Mallettes pédagogiques ‘Bienvenue en Belgique’ is the first kit of its kind as prior to this there was no educational material specifically designed for newly arrived migrants in Belgium lacking basic skills.