Looking back on the first year of the BLESS project (Building a Learning Environment for Study Success) the word that comes first to mind is “community”. BLESS, the first cooperation between Kiron and the H&M Foundation, has the Kiron community at its core. Through online and offline measures, the project helps us create an innovative and supportive learning environment to achieve study success as well as facilitate efficient transfer processes and sustainable scaling activities. So what have we achieved in the first year?

As part of BLESS, we were able to offer four direct academic classes to our students, two particularly for women, where students were able to connect offline and learn together. We also designed new learning materials such as this awesome video that explains our Kiron model to interested future students:

BLESS helps us to learn more about our students. Through the project we are able to conduct surveys to understand our students’ needs and adapt our offer accordingly.

One project highlight was undoubtedly Women’s Week, held from April 23rd to April 26th in Berlin. Kiron and the H&M Foundation invited female Kiron students to Berlin for a series of workshops, Q&A sessions, university taster courses, and a roundtable on the topic “The future is female? How can we collaborate to create change?” Students had the chance to connect with each other, Kiron staff and the wider Kiron community and to work actively towards their university applications. The roundtable united ‘Women in Digital’ founder Tijen Onaran, former economic minister Brigitte Zypries, the lawyer and co-founder and chair of the regional chapter of ‘Lawyers without Borders’ Armaghan Naghipour, Kiron’s Head of Academic Relations Heba Ledwon, Kiron Alumni Wafaa Almnayer and migration scholar Karoline Popp for an exciting evening of discussions and exchange. Feel free to check out our video below:

In June we shared an inspirational story from our students each day leading up to world refugee day as part of our #educationforintegration campaign, designed to introduce our Kiron community to a wider audience. Students shared their hopes and dreams, their aspirations and challenges with us. On World Refugee Day, Kiron staff left the office to actively engage with members of the public on the topics of education and refugeeism.

As part of BLESS we also continuously improve our online community, specifically our Forum where students can connect with each other – and with Kiron staff – to exchange ideas, discuss questions and prepare to learn together. BLESS has enabled us to make our forum a more user friendly, fun place to be.

In the upcoming months we will continue to learn more about our students, share a concept paper on student tracking and publish more films and learning materials.

We are looking forward to the exciting things that the next two years of BLESS will bring for us and our Kiron community.