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Have you ever wondered how the families of foreigners in the Czech Republic live, what they think about Czechs, and why – out of all countries in the world – they chose the Czech Republic? Now you have a unique opportunity to find out! What’s more, you can do so while enjoying great food and trying some new tastes. The whole republic event ‘Next Door Family’ will take place at the end of November. This is when families of foreigners who live in the CR and Czechs will meet for Sunday lunch.
Regular participants of the project are families from very different countries, such as Armenia, China, Mexico, Jordan, and Senegal. The point is that the Czech families do not know in advance the country of origin of the foreigners they will meet. Through a mediator from the Slovo 21 organisation they only agree on who is going to cook. The foreigners then come as guests to a Czech household, or the Czechs come to see a foreigner’s home.
A lot of attention is paid to the pairing of the registered families: this is done based on the age of the family members, their interests, languages they speak, and, of course, the place they live in. Slovo 21 wants to make sure that the hosts and the guests will have enough topics to discuss. There’s also one more person at each lunch: an assistant who contacts both the families before the meeting and gives them information about the other family and the meeting itself. When necessary, the assistant helps the families to break the ice and start conversation. If the families have a lot in common, they can keep meeting on a regular basis.
The project is open only to families who have been legally residing in the Czech Republic. People with refugee status and international protection seekers may not take part.
The Next Door Family is a successful project in which more than 1,550 Czech and foreign families have taken part so far. It is very popular abroad, too. Since 2012, similar meetings have been taking place in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary, Belgium, and the Cape Verde Islands. The idea of having someone for lunch has proved an interesting and effective instrument for the integration of foreigners in the society.
In 2016, the European Economic and Social Committee chose the project as one of the three best integration models.
Would you like to experience it? All you need to do is to fill in an online application to meet a family for lunch on the last November Sunday, 25th November 2018.