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Acceptance & Next steps

After the first wave of shock is over, the journey of building awareness and acceptance begins to take its place. It is very likely that your guests are sure that within the coming months, they will be able to return to their homes, their families, and previous lives. This process is made only more difficult with the sudden realization that the conflict may go on for a very long time, that it becomes necessary to undergo formal bureaucracy in a foreign country.


Keep in mind that it is more than likely for your guests to have had some level of social and material status in their home country; losing that aspect of their lives makes adaptation into a new, unfamiliar, and foreign country all the more difficult. This can come through in unexpected or erratic comments and behaviors; to avoid this, it’s reasonable to try and steer the conversation towards specific, necessary steps (e.g. registering, getting a SIM card), putting future plans 'on hold'. Focus on what exactly you can do individually, and what support you are already receiving from the government. It maybe that some of refugees may be very sceptical towards federal initiatives; be patient and calm, and explain to your guest the importance of these procedures.

What you can do to help:

  1. Help your guests meet families in similar situations (add them to a group chat, use social networks, organize events)

  2. Accompany your guests to unfamiliar locations, especially those related to bureaucracy and documentation

  3. Patiently and kindly explain to them the importance of registering with the authorities

  4. An essential element in any kind of familial integration is the integration of children into local schools. Explain to your guests, that Swiss law obliges children residing in the country to attend school, regardless of the parents’ status. It is also worth mentioning that this education is free.

  5. Try not to delay the registration of your guests; the faster this is resolved, the better.

Important information for your guests:

  1. Honestly explain to them how long they can expect to stay in your house

  2. Explain what resources exist in relation to registration, education, and psychological support

  3. What your guests should expect from you, if you are unable to continue providing them with food and accommodation

  4. What their responsibilities around your house must be

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