Integration centre in Prague to help immigrants and support NGOs
Last week saw the official opening of a new Integration Centre for foreigners in Prague. Currently, almost twelve percent of the capital’s population are now foreigners, and city hall has been mulling over the plan to open such a centre for a few years now. With the financial crisis looming, Czech ministries are introducing increasingly stricter policies toward foreign workers and other migrants. The Integration Centre is meant to alleviate some of the hurdles that foreigners living here face.
“It’s estimated that there are about two thousand foreigners living in Prague, and more than half of them are people who are not from the EU. So this is kind of a big community and there is no systematic approach to working with them. So the integration centre is meant to find a way to do that. We’re not making the policies, but articulating the main priorities.”
This is the eleventh such centre to open in the Czech Republic but unlike other regional integration centres, the one in Prague chose to directly cooperate with already existing NGOs. Non-profit organizations with proven experience in the field of integration of foreigners will be offering services in the centre’s four neighborhood offices.
“I think that all of the NGOs in Prague feel that we should cooperate more that share the knowledge we have with integration, and hopefully this center will help us do that. However I think it’s very important to point out that the center should always cooperate with NGos. He have the experience - our organization has been active in the integration of migrants for twenty years – and we have the contacts with the migrants.”
NGOs participating in the project welcome the fact that the centre will give them direct access to city hall officials, and potentially greater influence in molding Prague’s integration policies.
According to Eva Dohnalová, from the organization InBáze Berkat, which will staff the Prague 13 office of the Integration Center, this venture may also help foreigners better understand how they can find assistance in the city:
For more information about Integration Centre Prague see www.icpraha.com