Skill Centre cooperates with a specialized team of intercultural workers of the Brno city Magistrate. Clients of the Skill Centres, but also cooperating institutions can make use of their services. For example, intercultural workers help with interpreting and mediation, they conduct field work and offer consultations. Intercultural workers mainly focus on the Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Moldovan, Arabic, and Vietnamese community in Brno.
Interpreting and translations
The worker can interpret in person or via telephone, based on prior agreement. They can translate correspondence, forms, information, or can create bilingual variations of the text.
Schools and kindergartens which need to communicate with parents of children usually contact intercultural workers. Workers also interpret at employment offices, registry offices, vehicles and drivers register department, department of the environment, at social services or in healthcare institutions.
It is also possible for the intercultural worker to accompany a client as part of fieldwork. The intercultural worker can help find necessary information and with the help of experts and specialists, they can give advice, or refer clients to the services of other organizations.
The representative of the Office for the Protection of the Social Rights of Children (OSPOD) reached out to a intercultural worker with the request for accompaniment in the case of a Vietnamese autistic girl. The intercultural worker set up appointments at a medical institution with the parents, explained to them the reason of the visit, and accompanied OSPOD representative with the parents to the medical institution and to school. The worker then explained to the OSPOD worker specificities of Vietnamese culture, that complicated the case and they gave advice on how to communicate with the parents in order to gain progress in the given case.
The intercultural worker orients themselves in life situations of foreigners and can offer basic advice to common life situations in relation to the fundamental integration steps, such as residence permits and accommodations, labor market and economic integration, education and language integration, social and healthcare integration.
A worker from the housing department asked us for help. They were working with a couple that was to be wed; the soon-to-be husband was a foreigner from a Non-EU country. The worker needed information on gaining a permanent residence of a foreigner in the case of marriage and the adoption of the wife’s child.
In the case of a complex case, the intercultural worker recommends appropriate follow-up services or additional support.
In a complicated case of domestic violence, the intercultural worker helped an institution that was part of a case during the complicated circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic to reach out to other supportive organizations, an interpreter, and volunteers. They then helped the victim find accommodation, Czech language courses, and specialized job consultations.
Expert consultations, systemic solutions
The intercultural team wields great knowledge regarding individual foreigner communities. They know how to set up communication with the foreigners, they will give advice with specific problems, draft non-systemic solutions, or help with setting projects up in a way for them to really work.
Some foreigners living in the city were not paying the communal waste fee. This caused not only a lack of funding for the waste collection, but also meant that the Department of communal waste fee had to collect these fees retroactively. Foreigners thus learned about their obligation too late, when they had already received a call to pay the fees along with a hefty fine. Intercultural workers created bilingual forms, information materials, and they annually warn members of their communities about this obligation via information campaigns.
Frequent field work maps the situation of the foreigners in the municipality, enables to spread information effectively and acts as a preventive measure.
The mayor of a city district asked the intercultural workers for help with a problem of noise complaints, which repeatedly happened at a smaller boarding house where foreigners lived. Fieldworkers mapped out the details and they informed the person causing the disturbance about the laws in the Czech Republic and consequences if they do not abide by them.
Mediation of conflicts
The intercultural worker helps deal with misunderstandings and confrontations with foreigners. They are also able to avoid conflicts in mutual communication.
An intercultural worker assisted at the labor office. A worker from the labor office was complaining about a client, who did not speak Czech well, and it seemed that they do not want to cooperate. It turned out that the client did not bring the appropriate documentation, because they could not understand the worker. While trying to understand what the worker was saying, the client was frowning, not because they did not want to cooperate, but because they were focused on understanding. The intercultural worker explained the situation to both parties and helped the client with the preparation of the necessary documents.
Intercultural workers are mainly in Brno and its surroundings, but our goal is to expand this service to other cities and towns in the South Moravian region.
Web of the Social Welfare Department of Brno City Municipality: socialnipece.brno.cz