Portugal organizes panel discussion on “climate refugees”

The number of international migrants today is higher than ever before as there are more and more refugees and asylum-seekers escaping violence or persecution in their home countries. Refugees and human migration are major issues of concern in our time, and it seems urgent to acknowledge this fact and act to support those who most need - as was already discussed and worked on during the digitale CARE conference 'in Finland' in February 2022.

Climate change is one of the issues behind the increasing number of refugees, where people living on the frontline of climate emergency lack the resources to adapt to an increasingly hostile environment and these people are forced to migrate long distances, seeing their lives at risk, and being forced to flee their homes due to all sorts of natural disasters. Knowing that some countries are more to be blamed than others, the CARE students attending the Portuguese secondary school Escola Secundária Francisco Rodrigues Lobo, were challenged to discuss migration and climate refugees together with their fellow English students through a motion debate promoted by the Portuguese Institute IMVF (Instituto Marquês Valle Flôr) - Projeto “People and planet: a common destiny ", see https://www.imvf.org/project/people-and-planet-a-common-destiny/). 

One of the so-called "houses" required that all historically major polluters should open their borders to environmental refugees. It defended that governments all over the world should incorporate the concept of human rights protection into the planning and implementation of climate change measures. This should include preventing large-scale displacement by allowing people to live in conditions that protect their human rights and promoting human rights-conscious planned relocation as a means of adapting to climate change. 


CARE group Germany invites experts on “addiction”

In preparation for the next conference of the Erasmus+ project CARE (from 11-16 March 2022 in Helmond, NL), students from Lübbecke met experts in the field of addiction prevention and therapy. In order to be well prepared for the multilateral meeting with their partner schools from Finland, Poland, Portugal and the Netherlands, which is organised by the partner school in Helmond on the topic of 'Caring for people with addictions', the approx. 20 students of Wittekind-Gymnasium already met Mareike Awolin on 02nd March. She gave a vivid account of her preventive work for the district of Minden-Lübbecke and also explicitly reported on the preventive work organised for the schools in the district. The same day they welcomed Manfred Pallentin from the Diakonie in Lübbecke (https://www.diediakonie.de/de/sucht/suchtberatung.htm). Mr. Pallentin described his work with alcohol-dependent clients in particular.

Finally, on 07th March, the project participants received Lars Hoffmeyer as an expert on the clinical work of the “Mühlenkreiskliniken” with addiction disorders. In a lively conversation Mr. Hoffmeyer explained how huge the need for 'detoxification therapies' is in the district of Minden-Lübbecke and was able to pass on many facts as well as recommendations for action in a lively dialogue with the participants.

After these three meetings, it was clear to everyone involved in the project: this field is not only very interesting, but also immensely important for our student body! The CARE delegation, which will leave for the conference this Friday and will first have to report on the addiction work in Lübbecke in a digital presentation, hopes to get further impulses and that this work will set an important milestone for the implementation of addiction prevention projects at their school. Important contacts have been made: Mrs. Awolin, Mr. Pallentin and Mr. Hoffmeyer are willing to support the school so that the first pilot projects can hopefully be organised this school year. The ideas and addiction programmes of the CARE partner schools, which will also be presented and compared at the meeting in Helmond, can hopefully also help to optimise the work at Wittekind-Gymnasium.


Work experience abroad?

A big problem at Wittekind and Driessengroep in 2021 and 2022!!!

Again! The work placements had been organised, the host families and partners found, friendships had started, the tickets had been booked – and the Covid pandemic made it impossible again. Just like in January 2021 the lockdown situation (this time only in Helmond) made it impossible for the German students to spend a week of their compulsory internship project (January 10-17, 2022) in the Netherlands and for the Dutch partners to come to Lübbecke.

Due to the nationwide lockdown the Dutch students will not even be allowed to go to school after the Christmas holidays. Distance learning – again!

“It's a very frustrating situation for everybody!” says the German coordinator Silke Horst who together with her Dutch colleague Frederique Giesbrecht has put a lot of effort and hours into the project. The aim was to enable the 12 participants to gain work experience abroad and for the Dutch students to get to know the concept of so-called 'school-internships' in the first place. The students had already been looking forward to 'working' at different organisations, institutions and companies. The German students agree: "It would have been a really good change in the otherwise dull Covid-times!“

The teachers and students will at least try to still do the exchange later this school year – but it will involve a lot of extra work and finding the time and the placements for the students could be very difficult and maybe frustrating again, if it will have to be cancelled yet again.

CARE project presented to 18 European school during digital network conference 'in Finland' on well-being


On Friday 7 May 2021, students from all the CARE schools and also students from all the 18 network schools from the European school network 'Education without frontiers' were able to participate in an international conference on "Well-being in Corona times". The conference was organised by the Finnish Care Team and took place via a YouTube livestream and private video conference rooms. It consisted of an introductory lecture by Professor Ville Ojanen of Psychology, two separate workshops each and a farewell ceremony.


Despite the topicality of the lecture and various tips from Ojanen, the appeal was quite general and perhaps a little too elaborate for a Friday morning.

The varied choice of workshops and their individual implementation by the Finnish group leaders, on the other hand, were very appealing. The CARE members chose the topics, like "Healthy Snack", "Treasure Map" and "Dancing". While the discussion on healthy snacks was not as vivid as expected, the introduction to creating a so-called "Treasure Map", with our personal goals, wishes and things that make us happy, was perceived as very inspiring by all the students. Likewise, the "Dancing" workshop was an interesting change from the other everyday distance work at the desk. Here, the international similarities and differences came to the fore, as the group leaders taught all 15 participants a traditional Finnish dance and then offered the participants the opportunity to exchange ideas about local dances.

Although the videoconference could not replace a face to face meeting, all members agreed that it was an interesting experience to participate in such an international videoconference. One could not only discover new topics, but also develop a feeling for other nations. The virtual exchange and cooperation between CARE members from all over the world is by no means a substitute for the planned meetings, but at least it is a great opportunity to take up and continue the theme of being healthy and helping each other even in difficult times like Corona.



While the students were busy working in the various students workshops, the German coordinators of the CARE project, Jessica Stefener and Silke Horst, had the opportunity to present the first results and experiences to the teachers of the European partner schools and to explain how the project would be continued despite the Corona crisis.

Job application training - workshops organized at CARE schools

It was supposed the be done in May 2020 but since most of the CARE schools were stuck at home doing online lessons only, the job application training workshops were mostly organized in (late) autumn 2020 because it was important to do them in class and face to face so that the students could actually do the role-plays as well and discuss and share their ideas and experience in person. 

Working abroad? -

No problem at Wittekind! Internship-project Lübbecke-Helmond in January 2020 


Living and working abroad within Europe is for many people a good alternative and a welcome opportunity to develop professionally. The united Europe we live in offers countless and exciting opportunities.

The Wittekind-Gymnasium as a so-called European School and coordinator of the Erasmus+ project CARE (https://www.wittekind.de/cms/index.php/international/care-cooperating-actively-for-responsibility-and-empathy), which aims at promoting the career choice orientation of the pupils, attaches great importance to imparting these European ideals to young people already during their school time and to sensitize them for the diversity the EU has to offer. 

In January 2020, two pupils of Wittekind-Gymnasium were offered a great opportunity: They were given the chance to do an internship abroad for one week and also to host a guest from the Netherlands for one week. Jana Weiß (EF) and Björn Schier (9c) accompanied by the coordinators of the CARE project Silke Horst and Jessica Stefener travelled to Helmond in the Netherlands at the end of January to get to know three interesting companies at once. They were allowed to stay in the host families of their Dutch partners and visit the companies GNT, GEA and the Driessengroup (https://www.driessengroep.nl/humancampus) with them. 

At GNT (https://exberry.com/) they learned something about "Food Colouring", where natural colouring agents are obtained from natural resources such as algae, carrots or beetroot without the use of chemicals. 

At GEA (https://www.gea.com/nl/index.jsp) they experienced a completely different sector and were able to learn about food processing and how pharmaceutical products are manufactured and meat is processed. Special cooking systems were introduced, a meat grinder was "operated" and tested by the trainees.

During their time together in Lübbecke, Jana spent the internship with her guest Alexander at the Harting Technology Group in Espelkamp (https://www.harting.com/DE/de), while Willem, Björn's exchange partner, got to know the IMA Schelling Group (https://www.ima.de) in Lübbecke.

However, all participants confirmed that the time spent was much more than just an internship exchange, as it gave the participants the opportunity to get to know new families and cultures. They also had the chance to improve their English language skills and to try out the language learned at school in real situations and the professional world. 

We are curious to see who will go on this trip next year with the help of the Erasmus+ (https://www.erasmusplus.de/) CARE programme to explore the international labour market.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.