I spent last Friday wandering the streets of Zurich as part of "Googleserve".

Every year the Google offices participate in "Googleserve". At the risk of over-simplifying slightly, we talk to non-profit organisations that work with the local community and ask what they'd do with a few hundred extra volunteers for the week.

This year the Zurich office took part in a number of different projects; cleaning up graffiti, teaching people to use the internet, painting murals at the Kinderspital, ...

I was involved in raising the awareness of two AOZ projects among Zurich's immigrant population (of which, of course, I'm a member). The AOZ is a state-funded organisation with the remit to make it easier for newcomers to Zurich to find their feet and integrate socially and professionally.

The two programmes we were promoting (in teams of 2-4 throughout the city) were:

MAPS Agenda -- this is a monthly free publication that lists (in 13 different languages) events that are happening throughout the Zurich area; focussing particularly on events that are likely to be of interest to immigrants, or that will help them integrate in to Swiss society. For example, one of the events is a weekly free 90 minute German course at Letzipark.

The Konfliktophon -- a telephone helpline for foreigners in Switzerland who think they are being discriminated against, or are having some sort of trouble or misunderstanding with a Swiss person; perhaps a neighbour, or someone in the workplace. They help to try and defuse the situation, and try and see that everyone's viewpoint is represented.

All told everyone who volunteered distributed several thousand of these leaflets around Zurich, and have hopefully played a small part in making things a little easier for people moving to Switzerland.

1 comment:

  1. The MAPS Agenda link is very cool - never heard of it before. Thanks for the tip!