Cultural mediators building bridges between Slovak authorities and expat communities

Number of foreigners keeps growing, but getting information is still a headache for many.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Unsplash)

Where to wear a respirator, how to book an antigen test, and what Covid-19 restrictions are in place.

These are just some of the many questions people in Slovakia have to ask themselves as they go about their daily lives during the pandemic.

But while following and understanding the rapidly-changing coronavirus restrictions is hard enough for many Slovaks, for foreigners who do not speak Slovak it is an even greater challenge.

Organisations working with foreigners living in Slovakia have highlighted the lack of accessible information for foreigners in languages they can understand during the pandemic. But they say it is actually a problem that pre-dates the coronavirus crisis and hampers many non-Slovaks simply looking for general information related to their lives in the country.

Some recently joined forces to create Project KapaCity to help municipalities integrate migrants at local level.

The groups behind the project say so-called cultural mediators should be used to aid this integration.

These mediators are foreigners who have lived in Slovakia for some time, are well-known within local expat communities and can help establish communications between municipal authorities and those communities living in Slovakia.

“Cultural mediators are like a bridge between expat communities on one side and NGOs, schools and municipalities on the other,” Barbora Meššová, director of the Human Rights League NGO, one of a number of NGOs and civic associations behind Project KapaCity, told The Slovak Spectator.

Relying on communities

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