Mira - Colour your mind
Type of Information
Emőke Takács (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Mira is a community-based programme that brings Hungarian citizens and newcomers to Hungary together through social events, language classes, and mentoring programmes.
Mira provides a community space that helps migrants and refugees towards social inclusion and to take on leadership roles. This social inclusion is essential in allowing newcomers to integrate into their new homes. Events hosted by Mira have drawn in Hungarian citizens, migrants, and refugees.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
One of the greatest challenges migrants and refugees new to Hungary face is social exclusion. Social exclusion makes it difficult for them to find jobs, learn Hungarian, and feel like a part of the community.
Mira is a programme that benefits both newcomers to Hungary and Hungarian citizens, bringing the two together in an organic and inclusive way. It does this by hosting events at which Hungarian citizens and newcomers participate in activities, and through doing so are able to interact with each other.
The ultimate goals of Mira are to provide integration related services; to provide migrants and refugees with a space to participate in activities with each other and with Hungarian citizens; to empower migrants and refugees to become leaders.
How does it work
Mira offers a mentoring programme, language programme, and events and activities that bring Hungarians, migrants, and refugees together. The community is made up of council members, Mira members who act as workshop leaders, and members who participate in Mira services and events. Many of the events and activities are open to the public, however the mentoring and language programmes are only accessible to members. Anyone can become a member after registering with the programme.
The council makes decisions that impact the Mira community. It is made up of twelve to fifteen people who are active members. Three members of the council are paid staff, and the rest are volunteers. Council members encourage those who actively join public Mira events and express interest in becoming more involved to register as members of Mira.
In the mentoring programme, Hungarian volunteers mentor migrants and refugees. These volunteers are not social workers, but enthusiastic locals who want to help migrants and refugees to better understand Hungarian systems and to create a social network in Hungary. The mentoring is informal and personalised. Mentors not only provide newcomers with a community in Hungary, but also help them to navigate practical issues like obtaining a driver’s license, visiting the doctor, and more.
Migrants and refugees can also join orientation classes which help to explain the most important aspects of living in Hungary, and migrant and refugee children can receive tutoring from volunteer Hungarian high school students.
Language classes are also offered to members of Mira. Most classes teach Hungarian, but there are also a few classes that teach English. Approximately fifteen language classes are held per week. Tandem nights, where people can come together to practice speaking a language, are held twice a month.
Activities available to Mira members include yoga classes; a football club; computer programming classes; driving courses; a women’s club.
Members of the public are invited to join Mira members at board game nights; movie clubs; intercultural events. These activities are intended to generate discussions on diversity and different cultures. Events and activities open to the public are posted on Facebook.
Mira has collaborated with Open Doors Hungary to create a space for public events and activities, called MiraDoor. Many events are organised under the name of MiraDoor, and Mira and Open Doors Hungary take turns organising activities. These include creative workshops, at which Mira participants can act as workshop leaders. Migrants and Hungarian citizens often act together as workshop leaders during these workshops, such as at 'culture nights' where members create a presentation on their home country.
Mira has grown significantly since it began in 2017. There are currently:
- 60 members who volunteer as teachers, trainers and mentors;
- 60 members who actively attend events and activities;
- 200 people who attend events sporadically, many of whom know about these events through Facebook.
Approximately two-thirds of Mira members are not Hungarian citizens, one-third of whom have a refugee background. Many of the council members are not Hungarian citizens and two of the council members are refugees.
Some of the most successful Mira programmes are the boy’s football club, the mentorship program, and the creative workshops. The football team trains every week and competes with a Hungarian group, which provides an opportunity to interact with Hungarian boys in a fun and active way. The mentorship program is essential in helping migrants and refugees to overcome practical issues and in creating a social network. Creative workshops are inspirational, and provide members with opportunities to take on leadership roles.
Mira is evaluated internally: every six months the council meets for a day to discuss and evaluate Mira projects. In these meetings the successes of different events and projects are analysed, and decisions are made on the future of the programme.
Who will benefit?
Mira benefits both Hungarian citizens and migrants who join the community or take part in events. There are events which are specifically tailored for the benefit of mothers, children, migrants, and refugees.
Source of funding and Resources used
Mira is funded by the Open Society Foundations and several micro-fundraising projects, including an intercultural cooking service and cooking classes.