About the Project

According to the UNHCR and the IOM

“Persecution, conflict and poverty have forced an unprecedented one million people to flee to Europe in 2015. This process does not seem to slow down in 2016."

As anti-foreigner sentiments escalate in some quarters, it is important to recognize the positive contributions that refugees and migrants make to the societies in which they live and also honor core European values: protecting lives, upholding human rights and promoting tolerance and diversity," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

The project was born after a careful analysis of the changes in nowadays society due to the current humanitarian crisis and the displacement of millions of people fleeing from their countries in search of better life conditions.

The project aims to collect good practices from partners from different EU countries, especially those at the forefront in this humanitarian crisis: Italy, Turkey as countries of first arrival and Germany, UK and Sweden as countries that most of the refugees see as final destination. Spain, on the other hand, even if officially accepting to take refugees, is experiencing a standstill caused by Government inaction, to the point that 11 of the 17 autonomous regions have recently urged the government to unlock necessary procedures.
The project aims at creating a toolkit for counselors, former refugees working as mentors and cultural mediators, teachers and educators working with refugees on a professional or voluntary basis, for their integration into the countries that will become their new homes. The tool kit will be tested during the project during a 5 day training course in Italy where each partner will bring 4“learner-staff” to attend training, evaluate the activities and make suggestions on how to improve the contents. The participants in the training will be people who directly work with refugees (such us educators, community workers, cultural mediators) or decision makers such as local authorities and educational managers.

The project partners will look at the following main issue:

- The communities hosting large numbers of refugees are experiencing economic, social and political consequences. The local communities where newcomers are placed have to provide different services, as well as dealing with the conflicts which are triggered in the communities because of the cultural difference and limited resources. Local communities are not prepared to deal with the issues caused by growing amount of migrants/refugees. They need to get some tools and share experience with other actors actively working in the field.
- Case study of Riace a small village in Southern Italy that has been abandoned by most of the local population and has been repopulated thanks to over 6000 refugees that its Mayor has helped to settle there offering them Riace’s abandoned apartments along with job training. Though his pro-refugee stance has pitted him against the mafia and the state, Lucano’s model is being studied and adopted as Europe’s refugee crisis crests

Project objectives:

- to share best practices between organizations in Europe dealing refugees/migrants within hosting communities:
- to point out possible issues which could arise in the local communities experiencing the growing amount of refugees and elaborate possible measures to deal with them:
- to develop suggestions for local and educational authorities for the possible measures to prevent conflicts, xenophobia,radicalization and marginalization
- training key figures working with refugees in intercultural learning and stimulate them to develop and adopt new techniques concerning the inclusion of migrants

During the 16 months project there will be three main steps in the project activities:
- Research in all the partners' countries of Refugee practices, pros and cons, social and cultural dilemmas refugees face upon arrival
- The 5 day training provides a learning platform for refugee practitioners to be better equipped in working with refugees across Europe
- A toolkit will be compiled consisting of over a year’s research experience from each participant country.