In 2017, elbarlament – cultures of democracy designed the project Open Doors – Open Minds together with EAF Berlin. Since 2018, we have developed and conducted the accompanying seminars especially for young women refugees between the ages of 18 and 27. The aim of the project is for the participants to get to know democratic life in Germany and to promote their societal engagement. Thanks to a varied programme and many encounters, including with members of parliament and numerous civil society organisations, the highly motivated young women from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq gained many new experiences, which they used in their internships, for example at the Bundestag, the State Ministry in Baden-Württemberg or at UNICEF.
Open Doors – Open Minds supported the women in finding orientation in the professional world and in creating networks with other politically interested women. Crucially, they learned how companies and political institutions think and act and they experienced first hand how social and political commitment works. Almost 40 young women took part in two rounds of the programme, between 2018 and 2019. The result is an alumni network whose members maintain regular contact.
The project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs as part of the “Living Democracy” programme.