In Lerncafés (learning café) children and young people aged from 6 to 15 years are provided with learning support, from help with doing their homework to preparation for test and exams. All that, free of charge.
Note: In view of the protective measures taken by the Austrian federal government to contain the Coronavirus, the Lerncafés had to close its locations temporarily. Especially at a time when children have to do their schoolwork on their own and parents cannot help for various reasons, our Caritas Lerncafés are enormously challenged and in high demand! The colleagues are on duty and try to support the children digitally and by telephone, to motivate them and to overcome learning hurdles together. Whether fixed learning appointments by telephone, video conferences or e-mail exchange - the Lerncafés teams look after the pupils with a lot of commitment, motivation and creativity. Together we can do this!
"Sounds like we are learning to make coffee, but there's no coffee"
The so-called “Lerncafés”, an afternoon educational support project, are a highly successful service that has been established by Caritas all over Austria during the past years. On various locations, children from refugee, asylum seeking or migrant families, as well as from host communities have access to free study support, in order to enhance their language skills, succeed in school and to participate in afternoon activities.
Not all children can manage to meet school requirements on their own without help. Furthermore, many parents are unable to give support to their children. The reasons for that are wide spread: lack of money for private tutoring, low educational level of the parents themselves, a lack of German language skills and/or insufficiently modest living conditions are only some reasons that make it nearly impossible for pupils to achieve the desired learning success in schools. Caritas has therefore created a free learning and afternoon care service called "Lerncafés". The results are great pride and success: In the last year of school 96% of the participants completed their respective school level, meaning they can continue their journey to the next level.
Taking into account that around 95% of the project participants have a migration background, the “Lerncafés” also function as best practice examples of an integration project that is accepted by the European Commission. In learning, playing and growing up together with children from all different countries, religious beliefs and backgrounds, the children internalize to be open minded and respectful towards each other and other human beings, which is an additional possible outcome of the programme.
In addition to supporting children in doing their homework and preparing them for exams and tests, the main aim of the volunteers is to teach children how to enjoy learning and strengthen their German language knowledge. Additionally, the joint preparation of healthy snacks and the regular contact with parents are additional important elements of the “Lerncafés’” daily work.
The first Caritas “Lerncafé” has opened in Graz in autumn 2007. Meanwhile, the educational offer is available throughout Austria and is repeatedly cited nationally and internationally as an example of best practice, the “Lerncafé” project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and the Exterior (BMEIA) as well as the private sector.