What is the project?

In December 2021 SPEAK joined a European-wide network co-funded by the European Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund, called Worldplaces.

Worldplaces comprises various communities from the following countries, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Austria, and Belgium.

The main aim of this project is to bridge the gap between the organizations from the public, private, and social sectors that are committed to supporting migrant women to become closer to the workplace through 4 specific pillars: 1) life-long learning, training and leadership; 2) life and community soft skills; 3) language and culture and; 4) sense of self and identity.

In Portugal, SPEAK is working with companies, non-profit organizations, and the public sector to implement language and culture groups that allow migrant women to grasp the locals’ cultural and linguistic characteristics while building relationships of friendship and trust with professionally active women, which can motivate them to join and stay on the labour market.

El Corte Inglés, 2nd group in Lisbon

Who’s part of Worldplaces?

Worldplaces counts with several institutions from both the private and public sectors. Plus, the network also involves non-profit organizations. Worldplaces aims to connect and create a process of development through various organizations, where the final result must be providing migrant unemployed women with the tools, inspiration, and confidence to access and/or stay in the labour market of their new countries. This is done through a language and culture exchange experience facilitated by professionally active women who accompany migrant women on this journey.

Meet some partners of our amazing network:

Lisbon Project

Lisbon Project works to implement high-impact, cost-effective programs that support migrants and refugees. And in all of their work, they focus on community.

They focus on community life, education, employment, legal aid, and benevolence.

Centro Comunitário S. Cirilo

Centro S. Cirilo builds a Life Project with users with a view to their autonomy in support and economic stability, normally through labour integration.

Both organizations joined the network because they saw the benefits.

El Corte Inglés, 2nd group in Lisbon

AIMA – Agência para a Integração Migrações e Asilo

They operate on determining, executing, and assessing the public, transversal, and sectorial policies concerning migrations that are relevant for integrating migrants in the national, international, and Portuguese-speaking contexts, for the integration of immigrants and ethnic groups.

AIMA helped us organize the focus groups which led to the creation of the project methodology and to improve our network of non-profit organizations.

Profit organizations

El Corte Inglés, Portugália, and EDP joined the network as they are committed to Diversity and Inclusion practices.

They were part of the focus groups, allowing us to have the for-profit perspective when building our methodology. They are also key partners of this project, as they are identifying the women (our buddies) to lead the sessions and work as role models for our beneficiaries. 

To bring these migrant women closer to the job market, they allow the Portuguese sessions to take place on their premises.

Portuguese basic 1 – El Corte Inglés
Portuguese basic 2 – Portugália
Buying groceries, shopping for clothes, recycling, and identifying emotions, are examples of certain activities during these language groups. – El Corte Inglés

What did Worldplaces achieve?

In the last two years, Worldplaces was able to support 85 women from diverse backgrounds with this project. With 3 companies collaborating and 17 engaged buddies, it proved the power of this kind of initiative in fostering cross-cultural connections.

Worldplaces’ impact was shown in 1 notable success case, where one of these beneficiaries got a job offer from one of the companies (El Corte Inglés), reinforcing the importance of initiatives that transcend boundaries.

Buying groceries, shopping for clothes, recycling, and identifying emotions, are examples of certain activities during these language groups. – El Corte Inglés

What’s next?

We are entering the last year of the project and planning to open new language groups in Lisbon and Porto. For that, we count on the help of 4 companies – El Corte Inglés, EDP, Portugália, and KANTAR and our goal is to reach 125 migrant women.

Feedback from the project itself.

How do buddies feel about the experience?

“I loved this first experience, it completely exceeded all my expectations (already very high). So fulfilling!

So, today we had Omama (Pakistan), Thawra (Syria), Aisha (Nigeria), and Pragya (Nepal). It was lovely to meet these women; they are all very committed to learning the language, for different reasons.

Because Pragya has been in Portugal only for a month, she will need a little bit more support during the session, as the other women have been in the country for a while now (several years). They all actively participated in the session and asked lots of questions, so I believe they felt quite comfortable with us.”

Buddy of EDP, 1st group in Lisbon

“The sessions are going great! The group is wonderful and committed. I can already see some improvements in women ‘s Portuguese. They are more confident and have more vocabulary! 

Buddy Thayná, Portugália
Introductions. – El Corte Inglés

What is it like for participants?

I must say the classes have been amazing and the EDP Buddies are fantastic! Truly grateful and I feel privileged to study Portuguese with them! Thank you for this opportunity!

Anastasia Carpio, Participant PT basic II EDP

What do buddies take from leading a group?

“At El Corte Inglés we are already on the 2nd edition of the Worldplaces Project. It has been a journey on a personal level, and as with all journeys, I learn a lot from all the women, their language, culture, and customs, so it has a very positive impact and is a huge lesson in humility. All the women have stories to tell, and many of them, unfortunately, and compared to mine, are quite difficult, but all this has helped me to look at others with more and more compassion, and a genuine interest in knowing and learning from their life stories and, above all, an enormous pleasure in having crossed paths with all these people.

For El Corte Inglés, a company distinguished for its Diversity and Inclusion practices, this experience is part of our commitment as an Inclusive Employer. It also means that we have experienced what studies in this area tell us; where it is clear that companies gain significantly when they hire people with different ages, cultures, and life experiences. Each person brings with them new knowledge about the same area and different ways of doing the same things, which only complements and increases knowledge, also boosting economic development.”

Ana Marques, buddy at El Corte Inglés Lisboa

Author: João Sousa

João is an intercultural researcher who loves to write and read. He visited many places throughout the world and joined SPEAK as a Copywriter. Curious about the facts of life and history, he loves every subject ranging from psychology to linguistics.

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