MINT: Mentoring for integration of children affected by migration

Migrant children and youth are especially vulnerable to social exclusion. Through the MINT project, Terre des hommes (Tdh) and its partners aim at empowering refugee and migrant children as well as European youth to engage in new integration activities. By using an innovative mentoring programme, Tdh contributes to building more inclusive societies in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

Around 30% of the migrant population reaching Europe over the past years were children – many of them separated or unaccompanied. In their host countries, migrant children and youth face considerable challenges in terms of education, social inclusion, and subsequent employment. As part of this EU-funded project, we work in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia to support and facilitate the integration process of children, enhance social relations and empower both local youth and third-country national children.

 

Engaging children in educational and social activities

Together with its partners, Tdh is designing an innovative and replicable peer-to-peer mentoring programme based on good practices and tested models. The mentoring programme includes training local youth volunteers and pairing them with newly arrived migrant and refugee children. They both then participate in individual and group meetings focused on educational and language support as well as on recreational activities such as board games.

In each country, the volunteers will facilitate the integration of migrant and refugee children in the local host communities by introducing them to other children in the community and organising common outdoor sports and socio-cultural activities involving visiting historical museums, watching popular national movies or organising sport competitions such as football matches. This will help third-country national children make new friends and become more familiar with the host community history and habits. The goal of this mentoring programme is to enroll at least 120 children in formal or informal education.

 

Acquiring linguistic and socio-cultural knowledge

Migrant children’s integration and learning journey is accompanied by adapted printed and online content. The child-friendly online resources will help newly arrived children understand the national cultural and social specificities of the four project countries. Further, children will have the opportunity to learn the local languages through offline and online courses offered in a language that children understand such as Arabic or Farsi. Overall, more than one thousand children will acquire the basic knowledge and skills to engage in social relations.

 

Countering stereotypes about migrants and refugees

As part of the mentoring programme, groups of local youth and third-country national children will identify key topics reflecting the integration experience. They will bring these topics into public discussions through videos promoted online and through theatre plays, debates with peers in schools or other local offline events. These child-led awareness raising and advocacy initiatives will address members of local communities and policy makers at local and national level. By countering stereotypes and spreading a positive image of migrant and refugee communities, children will benefit from a more welcoming atmosphere within the host societies.

 

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