The main problem, which has been identified, is the need to improve better integration processes of young people with a migrant background, including newly-arrived migrants and refugees. At the same time, this is a core priority of the European Commission in the context of social inclusion of all young people (EU Youth Report 2015). The increasing numbers of young migrants and refugees entails a large number of opportunities and challenges to which youth work and non-formal learning initiatives and constitutions are called to respond. The cur-rent wave of refugees and immigrants towards Europe underlines the need for youth work that is adjusted to migrants’ needs. According to a Save the Children report, the total number of minor refugees with no parental protection who arrived to Europe has reached a total of 25.000 during 2015.
By means of youth work, the newly arrived young migrants can have the necessary help in order to learn about and embrace European values. Moreover, youth work encourages intercultural dialogue and builds mutual understanding between newly arrived young migrants and refugees and the receiving communities. In order for this beneficial impact to be achieved, youth workers and youth work organizations must efficiently reach out to migrant youth and maintain a close cooperation with public services and civil society organisations.
The increase in the number of young immigrants from outside the EU partially offsets the decrease in EU youth population. Young people aged between 20 and 29 are over-represented in the age structure of immigrants coming into EU countries from outside the Union (European Commission, 2015). Nevertheless, migrant youth is not so easy to be reached. Several factors contribute to the high degree of difficulty that characterizes youth work with migrants. The most prominent factor is the fact that young people with a migrant background are one of the groups most at risk of poverty and social exclusion. According to the European commission EU Youth Report 2015, ‘They usually face multiple dis-advantages leading to persistent poverty and a marginalized position in society. As the 2012 EU Youth Report pointed out, immigrants often lack the social capital (networks and information) neededa for being fully included in society. The situation looks similar when looking at second generation immigrants — the children of foreign-born. The at¬risk-of-poverty rates of immigrant children are the highest in Greece (52.7 %( [and] Spain (46 %)”. Due to their marginalization, either this is drop out, poverty or other situation, young migrants are difficult to be approached in a systematic way through official routes, such as school and other constitutions. The already disadvantaged position of migrants along with the tension produced by the current migrant flows necessary constitutes the provision of effective reaching out techniques for migrant youth work. The Overall Objective of the project is to improve the techniques to approach and link youth workers to young migrants (refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers) in order to develop innovation addressed to improving integration processes of young migrants. The specific objectives of this project are a) to equip youth workers with innovative techniques for reaching out to young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, b) to provide reaching out techniques tailored specifically to the characteristics of young migrants, c) to promote efficient youth work, d) to promote the concept of youth work among migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, e) to promote transnational cooperation among youth work organizations. The project directly targets all youth workers. The indirect target groups comprise young refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers in the partner countries.
The transnational implementation is essential for the success of the project. The more diverse and intercultural the background of partners, participants and stakeholders is, the more fruitful the results are. Moreover, migration flows among the partner countries are fluctuating, rendering a national approach on such a subject insufficient. Through transnational implementation, we will try to identify and address as many dysfunctional aspects of youth work with migrants as possible and subsequently provide solutions by means of the suggested reaching out techniques.
For this reason, the Strategic Partnership in the Field of Education, Training and Youth offers a specific framework to support the development, the transfer and the implementation of innovative practices and initiatives promoting cooperation, learning and exchange of experiences at European Level, increasing the capacity of operating at transnational levels in order to strengthen youth workers by promoting across training and innovating tools to ensure a better performance in the fields of cooperation and education and a better training for young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
This project is innovative because it addresses the current needs of youths. The work done by schools and families seems to be ineffective in achieving the goals of integration of young immigrants (they have higher rates of social exclusion, abandonment and youth unemployment) and the objectives set by Europe2020 for youth in general: especially the decrease in school dropout rates.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.