In February 2016 Liechtenstein introduced the LiechtensteinLanguages project (LieLa) to help asylum seekers and refugees integrate more quickly in their new country. Based on the New Learning Method developed in Liechtenstein in the 1990s, this language teaching method focuses on speaking skills – so that participants learn how to make themselves understood in German as quickly as possible – and on reducing barriers to learning.
The focus is on making learning fun, varied and active. LieLa trainers include games and movement in the sessions, and the teaching materials are designed to enable as many learners as possible to be active at the same time. Initial experiences have been positive, and suggest that the method is effective in engaging participants from very early on, regardless of age, gender or circumstances. Sessions focus on topics of immediate relevance to the asylum seekers’ situations, such as dealing with public authorities, health care, getting about in town, and other aspects of everyday life.
Throughout the classes, LieLa aims to promote a sense of self-worth and the values of peaceful co-existence.
Liechtenstein receives a significant amount of asylum seekers each year (154 in 2015) compared to its population size of 37,686 inhabitants. Many come from the Western Balkans, in part at least because Liechtenstein took in more than 1,000 displaced persons from the Balkans during the 1990s. Meanwhile, although not an EU state, Liechtenstein participates in the EU refugee relocation programme on a voluntary basis and took part in UNHCR’s resettlement programme. Since 2014, 23 Syrian refugees have been resettled from Turkey. 43 asylum seekers will be relocated to Liechtenstein from Italy and Greece.
The main LieLa website is in German but a video in English introducing the methodology and showing classes in action is available at http://liela.li/videos/. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.