The research project Everyday Life for Refugee Children up to Age 6 in Collective and Emergency Accommodation Centres was based at INIB e.V., an affiliated institute of the Berlin Protestant University of Applied sciences, and was managed in cooperation with ISTA/Fachstelle Kinderwelten, Berlin.

Project aims
Through the application of participatory qualitative research methods, the project investigated the views of refugee children up to age 6, their parents and staff at collective and emergency accommodation centres, on how daily life was organized and experienced by young children. The aim of the project was to generate empirically based knowledge on the everyday life experiences of young refugee children living in different types of accommodation centres.

Little is known about the everyday reality for young refugee children in collective and emergency accommodation centres. In research and official reports on the situation of refugee families in Germany, the perspectives and voices of children are underrepresented. Currently, action is based more on labelling rather than on proven knowledge. In view of this, the current project used an exploratory ethnographic research design.

Methodological approach
This qualitative research study was being carried out in collective and emergency accommodation centres operated by different agencies.
In each accommodation centre, a research team comprising a research fellow and student assistant was responsible for data collection. Each team has been put together to maximize team members’ complementing skills and competencies.
The research teams negotiated access to the collective and emergency accommodation centres and conducted participant observation on the daily life of selected families. They offered creative activities for pre-school children in order to observe and systematically document interaction processes among the children and between them and other persons living, working and volunteering in the accommodation centres. The development of the research questions was guided by the research field.
The research teams used picture- and space-based participatory methods in order to examine the everyday life and sense of space and time of pre-school children living in collective and emergency accommodation centres. The results were interpreted together with the children. Semi-structured expert interviews with staff at the accommodation centres (e.g. social workers and security personnel) were being carried out. The interview and observational data were complemented by interviews with parents.
The research results were discussed with reference to official documentation and statistics and compiled into a final report. The research findings were presented to interested specialists and members of the public at a conference in September 2017 and will also be disseminated through publications. The transfer of the research findings into practice was a stated goal of the project.

This research was funded by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Stiftung deutsche Jugendmarke, an anonymous donation to INIB e.V., and the Paritätische Berlin.

Project duration
1.3.2016 until 31.10.2017.


Final presentation
On September 22nd 2017 the final presentation “I want a real house” took place at Werkstatt der Kulturen in Berlin.

Project implementation
The project was managed jointly by Prof. Dr. Anne Wihstutz (INIB/ehb) and Petra Wagner (ISTA/INA Berlin gGmbH).

Research team
Seyran Bostancı, Sarah Fichtner, Thi Huyen Trang Le, Hannah Rosenfeld, Evelyn Schulz-Algie, Penelope Scott, Sonja Stegmaier (until 9/2016), Trần, Hoa Mai, Clara Zimmer (since 12/2016).
The project was supported by a scientific advisory committee consisting of experts.