A member of METAdrasi’s Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors recounts…
“As a member of METAdrasi’s team, I took particular interest in the Mini Lexicon when it was being created. I decided to use the Mini Lexicon for Service Providers in order to learn a bit of Arabic, as many of the unaccompanied children we support in METAdrasi are arabic-speaking. I asked colleagues from Egypt and Syria to help me with the pronunciation. I was reading every day while travelling by metro to and from work. I found the language extremely hard to learn, I must confess. The first time I used my few words in Arabic was during a visit to a family offering foster care to an unaccompanied teenage girl from Syria. She was a bit gloomy that day and I was utterly impressed to see her face lighting up as soon as she heard my pigeon Arabic! I realized that for this young girl my talking to her in her mother tongue was not just a way to communicate better. It was a message by itself. “Mother tongue has sentimental value”, say METAdrasi’s interpreters. Her expression of excitement was so moving that inspired me to read through the Mini Lexicon more intensively during the following days. While leaving, I saluted her with a “laila saida” (good night) and “wadaa”. “Wadean”, she corrected me with a laugh. “Good bye”.”
The Mini Lexicon for Basic Communication in 6 languages, Arabic, Farsi, Sorani, Kurmanji, Urdu and French, was published by the Swiss Embassy in Greece, in collaboration with UNHCR, EADAP and METAdrasi, while the application was designed by The Cube.
You may find more on the article here. Learn more about the Mini Lexicon and download the application, as well as electronic versions, available to print, here.