The project aims to provide refugees with a holistic integration journey that includes the following steps:
1) mentoring, personal motivation and development - key aspects for successful integration. This will be delivered by pairing refugees with integrated refugees (who have lived in Germany for over 2 years), senior citizens and professionals in the food and service sector who will guide them throughout their journey with Turning Tables.
2) a training course in basic food and beverage handling, customer service, intercultural skills and working in Germany. The focus will also be on fostering skills that target personal development such as motivation, future goals and aspirations as well as professional development in the form of coaching and leadership training.
Along the journey, the project aims to foster intercultural exchange through a series of food based events open to the wider public, where refugees and the local population will have an opportunity to share experiences, widen perspectives and taste delicious foods!
3) an internship program to provide practical skills to trainees via partnerships with restaurants, bars, hotels and catering companies. This will provide them with the opportunity to test the theoretical knowledge acquired through the training and put this into practice in a real German working environment.
After internship completion, we will support our trainees to find further employment, join a German trade vocational course or start their own business if appropriate.
The project aims to be as self-sustainable as possible. Once the first cohorts of refugees have completed the internship and have gained substantial experience in the German workforce, they can then contribute towards the project by acting as mentors, trainers, coaches in the training for a new cohort, as well as team members of Turning Tables. In this way, the project will eventually be run by refugees for refugees, with minimum support from outsiders.
The goal of the project is to provide the right tools and the first steps for refugees to integrate in German society. Integration is a complex process to tackle and therefore through our holistic approach we want to focus on personal, practical and intercultural aspects of integration. We want to offer refugees the possibility to create a life in Germany that is independent, sustainable and contributes towards the German system. We focus not just on the refugee population but also on the German population, involving them in the different steps of the project as mentors, coaches, customers, employers, etc. This is what true integration is about, bringing the two groups together!
Eventually, we would like to extend the project model to other sectors and industries such as agriculture and other in-demand trades. With partner collaboration we would also like to extend it to other cities in Germany and Europe.
By having a holistic approach to integration, Turning Tables offers a sustainable and long-term solution for refugees to successfully integrate in Germany. Through our project we want to provide refugees with the tools to affect their own empowerment.
We focus on food because we consider it to be a non-political and non-invasive way to promote intercultural understanding, change perspectives and create new experiences and that is the concept behind our name, Turning Tables.
We target the food and service sector because there is a demand for workers in this space and because it is a dynamic and flexible sector that can incorporate and grow from the blend of different cultures.
Our team and volunteers consist of expats and Germans . With a diverse background we believe we can both understand the challenges and needs that refugees face living in Germany and also provide targeted steps that will lead them down a successful integration journey.
The money will be devoted to the training course we are designing. With your support up to 15 refugees will be able to complete the training course in 2016.
As this is the first training we are conducting for the project, substantial resources will be devoted to providing the necessary infrastructure, materials for future courses. The aim will be to provide these training courses on an ongoing basis throughout the coming years.
*** IMPORTANT! *** As registered not-for-profit (Verein) in Germany we are entitled to issue donation receipts in accordance with the German tax regulation for any received contribution. Note this works only for the option “free contributions” and is NOT applicable if you chose a “Dankeschön” /Reward.
In August 2014, a dynamic and international team founded THRIVE International e.V. With the help of the member’s diverse backgrounds and common interests, this team came together to build upon their strengths and goal to do something meaningful in areas of education, cross-cultural understanding, and gender equality. Thrive is a not-for-profit organisation with a non-political and non-religious affiliation.
Within THRIVE, Amy Fitch is the founder and now project manager for Turning Tables. Amy is a CSR and International Development practitioner based in Germany with a background working on international development projects focusing on education in developing countries. Amy previously worked on the Strategic Partnerships team at PwC for the Girls’ Education Challenge (a programme funded by the Department for International Development - DFID) where she facilitated partnerships between DFID and private sector companies to deliver co-funded educational projects.
Hui Min Kua is a trained art therapist with a strong interest in cross-cultural therapy. Originally from Malaysia, she also has extensive international work experience in communications research and strategy planning. Min works on strategic and communications aspects of the project.
Petra Dahm is a founder and board member of THRIVE International e.V. Petra has a background in marketing and business development. Within THRIVE International e.V. she’s responsible for the European projects in the organisation. For Turning Tables she’s supporting with local contacts as a Munich native as well as marketing and administrative knowledge.
Theresia Gschladt is a founder and member of THRIVE International e. V. Theresia takes care of all things around communication and social media. Within Turning Tables, she is responsible for communications.
Michael Schmidt is a founder and member of THRIVE International e.V. Michael´s background is in Business Administration (Venture Capital) and IT (Business Intelligence). At THRIVE International e.V. his responsibility is the "financial stuff". He supports Turning Tables with local contacts and administrative knowledge.
We also rely on a network of talented and committed volunteers such as Mostafa ElFouly and Amged Murshed who provide insights, time and knowledge of similar initiatives carried out across the world. A special thanks to Benedikt Garsky for shooting our video.
A special thanks should also go to Culture Kitchen in Munich, who is supporting us with the crowdfunder and with their knowledge and networks of similar initiatives operating in this space across Germany.