Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 (“Workshops Against Fear 2.0”) works with asylum seekers, but also individuals with subsidiary protection rights, who are filing legal petitions after a denial. Unfortunately, the latter group is growing in Austria. In addition, legal aid from NGOs and non-profits are decreasing; asylum lawyers are overloaded and sometimes implement admission freezes for new clients.
Workshops Against Fear 2.0
2,000 Euro Prize 2020
Region: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Vienna
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Adult education, Advocacy, Migration
Project owner: Verein "PatInnen für alle"
Responsible person: Erika Kudweis
Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 prepare young asylum seekers for their trial for asylum by lawyers and trained instructors in Austria. The aim is to empower participants, improve their communication skills, and point out potential actions in court. With the help of an “integration folder”, participants organize their experiences and documents to articulate and explain their case in court.
The actors are the refugees and their confidants/guardian ”godparents”. Their active participation is important to learn and practice in the workshop before their court case. Their questions and knowledge gained from accompaniment to negotiations are incorporated into the workshop’s training material.
Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 are currently offered in all states in Austria, with the main focus on community facilitators. NGOs and legal advisors are also organising and adapting their practices based on Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0. In 2018, the participants were all godchildren in a “godparent” family guardianship project.
The workshops were revised in 2019 to be applied internationally; we conducted workshops in France for individuals who have sought asylum in Austria. The Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 concept has evolved due to the rise of unaccompanied refugees.
Asylum seekers and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection anticipate their asylum court case mentally and emotionally, especially sharing their experiences of escape and persecution with clarity in court. The young people imagine and connect to their senses: the space and people of the courtroom, their answers to questions from the judge, working with an interpreter. Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 offers support to prepare for the trials of asylum cases in court. Workshops gegen die Angst 2.0 is a successful social innovation: the organization has spread throughout Austria and is slowly working in cooperation with asylum judges.