“TIME TO BE WELCOME” - EUROPEAN VOLUNTEERS SUPPORTING REFUGEES INTEGRATION
YEU International is partnering in the Erasmus Plus KA3 - Support for Policy Reform project “Time to be Welcome”. The project is led by the World Scout Movement (WOSM, project applicant) and is implemented in partnership with the following organisations: EFIL (Belgium), Soma Hellinon Proskopon (Greece), Scouting Ireland (Ireland), Scouts of Macedonia (FYROM/Macedonia), Centre Chapelle-aux-Champs (Belgium), Red Cross UK (UK), EEUDF (France), SINGA (France), Skatamot (Iceland).
The project aims at encouraging young volunteers and youth organisations all over Europe to welcome young refugees and migrants and support their integration process through the use of non-formal education and youth work. At the same time, the project wants to raise awareness among the public opinion in Europe to be tolerant and more open towards migrants.
Specifically, the different actions and phases of the project will support and empower young volunteers from partner organisations to take action and actively contributing to welcome refugees and newly arrived migrants in refugee camps or other hosting structures and within local communities. The project foresees a preparation and training phase (both at the national and European level) for all volunteers involved, who will eventually have the chance to be hosted by one of the two hosting partners (EEUDF in France or Soma Hellinon Proskopon in Greece) for periods of 2, 6 or 12 months. During their volunteering period, participants will directly work with young refugees and migrants, providing non formal education activities in camps and hosting structures and supporting the interaction between refugees and the local communities they live in.
The project, that will last for 2 years, from November 2016 to November 2018, and it will involve approximately 60 volunteers. Young newly arrived migrants will be therefore prepared and supported for a smooth integration in the European society, from a grassroots and bottom-up perspective, while Youth Organisations will improve their capacities and their youth work practices in order to ensure a long term integration of migrants into their membership and activities (by acquiring knowledge, expertise and practical tools & methodologies).
Within the different project phases, partners will also develop a social campaign to raise awareness on the project topics and on the situation faced by refugees and the need to open local communities to welcome and integrate them. In this regard, volunteers will be also responsible for developing a photographic report of their experience: the pictures will eventually be part of a final exhibition that will contribute to disseminate the project results and to reach out within the international community.
In general, the project will actively promote mutual understanding and respect among young people with different ethnic backgrounds with the aim of facilitating intercultural dialogue and learning, and of supporting the inclusion of the newcomers in local European communities. It will also counter the daily challenges of refugee camp life (psychological and health hazards) through ensuring coordinated activities to this purpose and human resources on a daily basis.
As sending partner, YEU will have the chance to select, train and send (from July 2017) up to 12 volunteers from its Member Organisations (6 volunteers for a short mobility period of 2 months, 4 for a medium mobility period of 6 months and 2 for a long mobility period of 12 months). Moreover, we will be directly involved in setting up the contents and methodologies for the volunteers’ trainings and we will contribute to the development of e-tools and activity packages for all volunteers/participants.
The official kick-off meeting for the project will be held in Greece, from January 18th to 21st. Stay tuned for further info and details about this amazing volunteering project and opportunity!
By Giulia Annibaletti