Canton Zug, 12.05.2022

Ukrainian children in the city of Zug

The thoughts of Municipal Councillor (Gemeinderätin) Dagmar Amrein, Alternative, Left and Green party (ALG), on the situation of refugee children in the city of Zug.

The little kindergarten pupil sits silently in a circle of children. He is wide awake, observes well, but also seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the many impressions. His family fled Ukraine a few weeks ago, and he’s now living with a host family in Zug. Today, he is visiting  the kindergarten for the first time with the child of his host.

A little later in the break, the boy has forgotten his worries. He runs after his host brother, climbs around on the playground, and is completely in the here and now.

In order to process a trauma, one thing is first needed above all else: the experience of normality. That’s why it’s so important that Ukrainian children very soon have a regular daily routine, that they can play and learn. But where are they all, the Ukrainian children in the city of Zug?

27 children are currently registered with the city schools in Zug, 7 of kindergarten age, 12 in primary school and 8 in upper school. It can be assumed that more children are already here in Zug, but have not yet been registered.

Until now, we’ve heard mainly about the many Ukrainians in Menzingen and Risch. This is due to the fact that these communities were able to quickly provide spaces for collective accommodation. Finding such living space was not easy for the city of Zug.

But now it’s clear: accommodation is ready for 300 people, whose arrival is expected in the next few weeks. Of these, about 30% are children. So another 60 to 90 Ukrainian children will soon be living with us and going to school.

The city of Zug has developed a three-stage model in a very short time: in a first phase, the Ukrainian children can attend the Ukrainian school located here. Then they are placed in a DaZ (Deutsch als Zweitsprache = German as a second language) class. Once they have sufficient language skills, they will then be integrated into the regular classes. Two more DaZ classes are currently planned in the city of Zug.

It's now necessary to find school rooms, desks and, above all, teaching staff for these classes. All the municipalities in Switzerland currently have the same problem: they can no longer find teachers. And the city schools are now knocking on the doors of retired teachers.

Fortunately, we have a locational advantage: As an international small town, Zug had Ukrainian inhabitants long before the war. A Ukrainian honorary consulate is located in the old town, and there are always Ukrainian people who are willing to help. However, in addition to Ukrainian, Russian and English, only a few speak German.

Conclusion: The city of Zug will have to prepare for a long-term commitment. This will need pragmatic solutions, staying power and money.

We live in a very privileged society. But these privileges also entail responsibility. The City of Zug can and wants to take responsibility and help refugees. In addition to this help, however, we must not forget that we are actually only fighting the symptoms, the consequences of war. In addition to this assistance, it is crucial that we do everything we can to ensure that this war ends.

Currently, the best lever is to stop buying Russian gas and oil. Because Russia is financing its war with the money we pay for gas and oil,. Right now, the city of Zug should generously support private individuals and companies that are willing to change their heating systems!

 

In the "Point of View" column, members of the Zug Grand Municipal Council (Grossen Gemeinderat) comment on freely chosen topics. Their opinion does not necessarily coincide with that of the editors.