We use a community-based approach emphasising strengths, resilience and access to human rights. Refugees take ownership, conceiving, designing, implementing, and evaluating their own initiatives.
Co-designing refugee-led solutions
Same Skies creates the basis for dialogue, helps refugee communities to identify and prioritise their needs, and to define the best means of responding to them. We provide guidance in project management to conceptualise and implement context-specific, culturally sensitive and sustainable ideas that shift traditional power dynamics. We facilitate the realisation of refugee-led initiatives that help refugees strengthen their sense of community and develop their independence. We also help refugee groups become financially independent and sustainable.
Refugee Learning Nest
The first project established by Same Skies became known as Refugee Learning Nest, and is located in Java, Indonesia. The project was originally conceived during a workshop that was attended by around sixty Afghan, Pakistani and Iranian refugees and asylum seekers. They discussed their vulnerabilities living in Indonesia, and proposed solutions to the most pressing of these difficulties. Education for children was identified as the most significant need, followed by English lessons for women, vocational activities for men, and recreational activities for the community at large. Health concerns were also of significant importance, principally in terms of access to healthcare. Today Refugee Learning Nest provides regular education for refugee children, and English and Indonesian classes for adults. In addition, they organise workshops, arts & crafts, sports activities and other social interaction.
Women Empowerment Project Ipoh
The Women Empowerment Project Ipoh started in October 2017 as part of UNHCR Malaysia's strategy to engage more local NGOs in the work with Rohingya refugee groups. The aim is to establish sustainable livelihood initiatives for women to empowering them to shape their own futures.
In the first phase, we assessed the skills and interests of the women to co-create suitable business ideas. We now spend one week per month with the women to strengthen either individual and group skills.
Training, coaching & mentoring to increase capabilities
Same Skies trains, coaches and mentors individuals and groups to strengthen their organisational and educational capacities. We support community actors to build their confidence and enhance critical thinking. The aim is for them to recognise their strengths and weaknesses, to cultivate their identities, and to add purpose to their own lives and those of their fellow community members. We encourage them to pass their new knowledge on to others and to strengthen the group structures and processes needed to lead and manage successful community-based initiatives.
Refugee Learning Center
In November 2015, a group of refugees in Indonesia asked Same Skies for support. We assisted the set-up of Refugee Learning Center with seed funding and training from 2016 - 2017. Refugee Learning Center provides regular access to education for over 200 refugee children and adults from 6 - 70 years old. Even though the centre is independently managed and funded, Same Skies still provides monthly Skype mentoring sessions for all refugees involved, to ensure sustainability and access to advice and guidance when needed. The sessions with the management team mostly concern organisational challenges, as well as the management of expectations of the community members and the team. The discussed topics range from daily issues such as behaviour management, conflict resolution and team building, to launching new fundraising campaigns that ensure the continuation of the activities at the centre. In addition, the mentoring sessions provided to the teachers offer a platform to discuss challenges in the classroom, and to provide advice on teaching resources and opportunities for development and growth as a teacher.
Refugee Collaboration Network
The Refugee Collaboration Network was formed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September 2017. The aim of the network is to support the needs of the participating refugee-led organisations to improve the quality, relevance, reach and sustainability of their services. After an assessment of the most significant challenges of the participating refugee groups, several objectives were defined, to be reached by the end of 2018. Firstly, the strengthening of organisational capacities is important to the refugee-led organisations, so that their centres become more structured, consistent, safe and sustainable. Secondly, the strengthening of the educational capacities of the teachers is a priority in order to take the various needs of the students into account. Furthermore, the network should lead to more effective communication, collaboration and sharing of resources between the community centres. And last but not least, the refugee organisations want to organise regular cross-cultural events to raise awareness and source support in the local communities. Every month, the network meets for two days. In between, the refugee-led organisations work on tasks and share developments using various communications technologies (Facebook, WhatsApp groups, Skype, Zoom etc.).
Creating a global community to shift paradigm
Same Skies partners with like-minded people and organisations that want to rethink and revolutionise conventional approaches in refugee work. We drive innovation and change by promoting Refugee-Led Action and enhancing leadership. We raise local awareness and connect people from various backgrounds across borders, while creating a network of peer support.
Transformative Leadership in Action
Transformative Leadership in Action is an interactive, action-based seven-month study programme targeted at corporate, humanitarian and refugee leaders. Participants learn with and from each other to become more effective, adaptable and inspiring leaders, while contributing to social change. They reflect on current leadership practices and devise more empowering, flexible leadership strategies, in the process developing cultural sensitivity and context-specificity.