Children of Asylum Seekers Receive Tailored Instruction Skip to content
asylum seeker program Birta
Photo: A screenshot from RÚV. An Icelandic teacher instructing a child asylum seeker in Reykjavík.

Children of Asylum Seekers Receive Tailored Instruction

A new educational program is providing learning and support to children of asylum seekers in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. The children receive instruction in subjects such as math, Icelandic, and art while their families’ asylum applications are being processed.

Birta, an educational department tailored for children of asylum seekers, was established this fall at Háaleitisskóli school in Álftamýri. The children currently attending the program include siblings Sídar, Sívana, and Alla from Syria, and cousins Jwan and Fatima from Iraq. All five were living in refugee camps before coming to Iceland and had never attended school.

“We always start the day in the same way so they know what’s happening next,” explains Aðalheiður Diego Hjálmarsdóttir, Birta’s department head. She says the staff at Háaleitisskóli have taken well to the project and been very helpful. “It’s gone even better than we hoped.” In addition to receiving specially tailored instruction, the children attend some classes with their Icelandic peers, such as physical education and art.

While the children are progressing in their studies, they must nevertheless face the uncertainty of whether or not they will be permitted to stay in Iceland. “Our goal is to provide them with confidence and safety and strengthen them so that if they leave Iceland, they have something to build on and don’t leave here empty handed,” stated Aðalheiður.

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