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Reception of deaf and hearing impaired asylum seekers and new arrivals

Sweden was able to step up its support for asylum seekers with hearing impairments following this three-year project.

Project dates 01/04/2009 - 31/03/2012
Total budget€1 506 000
EU contribution75%
Name of the entity managing the projectVästanvik Folk High School

Project Description

It is difficult to go to a foreign country as an asylum seeker, and it is even harder for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Västanvik Folk High School sought to ease the process and improve the reception that these these vulnerable asylum seekers receive through centralised training and support.

All teaching and organised activities at Västanvik Folk High School take place within a sign-language environment. The school was therefore able to offer asylum seekers and new arrivals lessons in Swedish sign-language, together with boarding-school style accommodation for the period of the asylum investigation. Knowledge of sign-language provides the deaf or hard of hearing asylum seekers with a way to communicate during the asylum investigation and, if they are granted residence permits, it will aid their integration into the Swedish community.

Benefits and results

This project enabled communication and integration of deaf and hearing impaired asylum seekers and new arrivals into the Swedish community. Persons granted residence permits may continue their studies at the school and, through work placement or further education, find a job in Sweden.

Following the end of this EU-funded project, the Swedish Migration Board decided to make the initiative permanent from 1 April 2012. Supporting new asylum seekers with hearing difficulties is now one of Västanvik Folk High School’s regular activities.

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