A toolkit for local authorities
Current Affairs Committee
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VAJA e.V. stands for Verein zur Förderung akzeptierender Jugendarbeit e.V.
VAJA e.V. is an NGO, which started acceptance-based youth work in Bremen within the 90s. Besides other target groups, VAJA e.V. deals with right wing orientated youth groups and youngsters attracted by Islamism and Salafism respectively, with youths with extremely intolerant behaviour in terms of group-focused enmity, misanthropic attitudes and/or youngsters susceptible to violence in general. VAJA e.V. also offers advisory services for parents and persons in direct contact with the affected youth.
VAJA e.V. works on the basis of a street work approach and mainly frequents the youngsters at their own chosen public places; but also runs prevention and deradicalising activities in a range of different social sectors and institutions – for example in information centres, youth centres, schools and public spaces in local communities.
VAJA e.V. therefore employs an approach which includes clique work, individual aid and parental involvement as well as project and community work. A fundamental prerequisite for VAJA’s method is building trustful relationships with the concerned young persons.
The VAJA staff members are experienced social education professionals, who are to some extend motivated by own experiences.
A particularly promising aspect of VAJA’s work might be their biographical work, concentrating on the individual biographical and life-related aspects of various clique members, which can be identified by staff as critical elements of right-extremist or other extremely intolerant orientation. Those elements are addressed based on discussions, activities and needs or are pursued further through mediation and assistance with other, e.g. therapeutic, services.
Since summer 2010, another team at VAJA e.V. – called “pro aktiv gegen rechts – mobile Beratung in Bremen und Bremerhaven“ (proactive against right wing extremism – mobile consultation in Bremen and Bremerhaven, www.pro-aktiv-gegen-rechts.de) – works to counter the lack (of awareness, engagement, interaction competencies and knowledge) in society against right extremism in an interventional way to strength public and have counselling and consulting for e.g. civil persons, organisations, institutions or companies.
Since autumn 2012 the project called “kitab - Beratung von Eltern, Angehörige und Betroffene in der Auseinandersetzung mit Islamismus“ (Advice for parents, relatives and other affected persons with regard to Islamism) – works to counter the radicalisation of young people in the context of fundamentalist Islamism and Salafism.