Syrian 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.”