Icelanders to take refugees on whale watching trips to help integrate

sperm whale block imageSyrian refugees arriving in Iceland are to be taken on whale watching trips as part of an integration programme adopted by the Icelandic Red Cross.

The trips are designed to enable Red Cross workers to build connections and trust with those entering Iceland, many of whom will arrive having suffered both physical and mental stress.

“When they apply for asylum, they receive a great deal of information in a short period of time,” Icelandic Red Cross project manager Julie Ingham told Icelandic magazine Vísir. “They have interviews with the police, social services, and the Directorate of Immigration, and some of them have a poor grasp of English. While that process continues, refugees are placed in housing with people they don’t know, which has a tendency to create isolation. The social work that we do is very important.”

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Jeremy Smithhttp://www.jmcsmith.com
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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