Integration in the Mountains
The DAV (Deutscher Alpenverein – German Alpine Club) recently launched A.L.M (Alpen. Leben. Menschen – Alps. Life. People) – a project designed to support the integration of refugees in the Bavarian Alpine region and in the foothills of the Alps. The project was created in conjunction with the Malteser Hilfsdienst (a Catholic aid agency) and with the financial support of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Foundation for the Environment).
“The A.L.M project is intended to make it easier for refugees arriving in the Bavarian Alpine region,” explains Dr Olaf Tabor, DAV Managing Director. “Our project aims to give refugees the opportunity to make new friendships, to understand and appreciate their new environment, and to sensitise young people to environmental issues,” adds Christoph Friedrich, Malteser Regional Office Director Munich and Freising.
The two organisations have united to share their specific expertise; the DAV in the mountain regions and through its core values of openness and tolerance; while the Malteser Hilfsdienst has been working on behalf of those in need for centuries.
The concepts of the ALM project include:
Learning about your new home
Providing refugees with variety in their daily lives and allowing arrivals to get to know their new environment better. The natural and traditional cultural landscape of the Bavarian Alps has a lot to offer. Together with locals from the DAV sections in the region, support groups and other project participants, the Alpine area is explored with open eyes.
Nature sports and environmental responsibility
After pedagogical preparation by the Malteser Hilfsdienst auxiliary service and under the professional guidance of the DAV instructors – central behavioural rules regarding natural and environmental protection and safe sport are conveyed. Many refugees come from countries where these issues may or may not be a subordinate role. They may be exposed to a lot of different scenarios, taking as an example the role of a forest – it has many important functions and specific needs.
Preservation of nature and environment
Contributing to maintaining the diversity and beauty of the Bavarian Alps. The aim is to create concrete opportunities for refugees to get to know and appreciate local flora and fauna. In addition, projects aimed at the active protection of the Alpine area, in which local people and refugees work together, are also implemented.
In the course of shared experiences, locals and refugees should get to know each other better and have the opportunity to explore cultural similarities and differences. Through the mutual exchange, respect and understanding of the respective cultural peculiarities should be created and the integration process facilitated.
On a practical basis, the project is mainly implemented by volunteers at the DAV and the Malteser Hilfsdienst. Programmes have extended to children who have been given the opportunity to take part in scavenger hunts and geocaching. Furthermore, with environmental education such an important component, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt is a natural partner.
The A.L.M. Project runs from August 2016 to July 2018 throughout the Bavarian Alpine region. 47 DAV sections and five Malteser departments are involved.