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A better future for migrant communities

The New European Bauhaus Prizes was born at the end of 2020 to unite communities and connect the “European Green Deal” to everyday life and living spaces. The Prizes recognise and reward existing projects and young people’s concepts, imagining and creating a sustainable and inclusive future. In 2023, Native Scientist was awarded the prize for the Connecting Students and Scientists from the Same Migrant Community project. Afonso Bento, the coordinator of the programme, talks about the award and what it means for the Native family.

What is your role at Native?

I am the lead for the Same Migrant Community (SMC) programme. That’s the Native Scientists programme that connects students and scientists from the same migrant community from all over Europe. Until now, we have held workshops in 12 different countries, in 10 different languages and reached more than 4000 pupils.

How does the same migrant community workshop work?

We use a carousel-style lesson, so pupils are divided into groups and 4-5 scientists demonstrate their work for 10-15 minutes for each group. Through the SMC workshops, the scientists foster the use of the children’s heritage language while engaging them with scientific topics and practices, integrating the learning of science and language. The workshops are as multidisciplinary as possible, covering different fields of science and providing a ‘Science Tapas’ experience to pupils.

What is the European Bauhaus Prize?

It's a European Union initiative that supports social innovation projects in building a more sustainable, innovative, inclusive and beautiful Europe. You can become part of a vast network of people and organisations pursuing those goals and be a part of the selected few that win a monetary prize. There are also different categories, Native Scientists won for promoting a “sense of belonging”.

Why is the European Bauhaus Prize a prestigious Award?

The European Union, as well as the NEB in particular, is a major political institution that is aligned with our values, such as multiculturalism, cooperation and human rights. Native Scientists was one of about a dozen winners among more or less 1500 applicants, a sizable portion of the European social innovation sector.

Why engage underserved migrant communities with science?

We know that migrant children in Europe are on an unequal footing compared to their native peers. There is a gap in academic performance, but also in most metrics measuring well-being. However, most countries do not have a coherent or tailored schooling policy to address these inequalities. That’s where we come in. We combine science with one of migrant children’s greatest assets: multilingualism.

Why did you decide to apply for the Bauhaus Prize?

It's a big honour to receive a seal of approval from such a high-profile institution which is shaping the lives of so many people. Of course, the international recognition and the monetary prize were also nice incentives :)

How does winning the Bauhaus Prize help your project?

At Native Scientists we are always looking to challenge our ideas and see how far we can go. Beyond granting us more visibility and recognition, the monetary prize is allowing us to keep growing, invest in the programme and its components, engage more scientists and, most importantly, reach more children from different migrant communities across Europe.


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