“You and I know that when we feel we belong to something greater than ourselves, it is human connectedness.”
Dr. Lul Seyoum, Director of International Centre for Eritrean Asylum Seekers (ICERAS), UK
The Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership Cross Borders Project which ran for three years has now come to a close and it is time to celebrate the many achievements that have been made possible thanks to the dedication of those working on the project. The aims and objectives of the project were to better support teachers, trainers and educational practitioners and providers working with migrants and refugees, and partners came from the UK, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The project team has supported the creation of many different types of materials, which focus on a five life-skills training areas:
- Sustainable livelihood
- Affection and belonging
- Prevention and protection
- Understanding and engagement
- Participation and social entrepreneurship
All of these training areas have been at the core when developing the educational resources, such as: a curriculum, a self-assessment competence and social micro-indicators for inclusion and economic engagement. Case studies, audio-visuals with testimonies of migrants and refugees for each training area, interactive tools, good practices and recommendations have been created by the partners together with migrants and refugees and project associates.
Practical educational resources
When developing resources and training materials, focus was also placed on the experience of the refugees and migrants, providing a safe space for them to voice their opinions and allowing the project team to then use their experiences to inform training development and delivery. One of the most requested training modules by diaspora communities has been the ‘Antidiscrimination Facilitation Skills’ which focuses on supporting refugees, migrants and those working with them to recognise discrimination and act against it.
The educational resources aim to support and enhance the skills of teachers, trainers and practitioners working with migrants and refugees. All the resources are free to download and are provided in seven different languages: Arabic, English, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tigrinya and Turkish.
One of the resources is a book in braille, which comprises the Curriculum, Competences and Social Micro-Indicators, enabling more vulnerable groups in society to be included and to benefit from the project. Many resources and tools are very adaptable, making them ideal for a range of individuals and communities.
Festival of Learning and Experience Exchange
The launch of the educational resources took place at the Festival of Learning and Experience Exchange on Thursday 15 August and Friday 16 August 2019. The times were different on the two days; 11am-4pm on 15 August and 6-10pm on 16 August, to maximise opportunities for participation. Over 100 people attended the event. The audience came from a wide cross-section of organisations from the public, private and third sectors.
The aims of the Multiplier Event were:
- To enable people engaged in the field of migration to hear from our Swedish, Spanish and Turkish partners, and British migrant and refugee associates about the challenges they face, and what they contributed to the project.
- To hear the perspectives of representatives of international organisations engaged in the field.
- To create opportunities for participants to exchange good practice and recommendations for policy within the educational field.
Among the speakers were the Lord Mayor of Westminster in London, Lord Mayor Cllr. Ruth Bush who said: ‘That combination of rigor and compassion and care is not easy to accomplish, and I am very impressed with the way that this has been done. What you offer seems to me to be immensely valuable and important.’
Other attendees were local and international experts in the field of migration; representatives of international, national and local NGOs and social enterprises, especially from diaspora communities; and TV media covering the event in three languages: Somali, Arabic and English. The two sessions were facilitated by Amina Khalid, Manager of IofC UK’s Sustainable Communities programme, herself a former refugee, and Peter Riddell, Convenor of IofC UK’s Agenda for Reconciliation programme. Music, and the song When Water is Safer than the Land, was by Jimmy Elderflower.
The event showcased the work, feelings, thoughts and personal journeys from Cross-borders entrepreneurs through a series of presentations including photos, videos and interviews. These facilitators and trainers had received training and are now training their peers in their communities and their countries of origin. The project team has continued to maintain contact with some of the participants to discuss new ideas for projects that will enable the sustainability of the current project, e.g. with the International Organisation for Migration and Visits to Cross-Borders entrepreneurs in their own communities.
Continuing the good work
The Festival represented the end of three years’ collaborative work among the partners and at the same time a new chapter in implementing and disseminating the resources within formal, non-formal and informal educational settings. One direct outcome of the event has been the compilation of the good practices and recommendations shared by participants, which are related to the Education of Migrants and Refugees for inclusion and economic engagement. This has been compiled into an informative brochure that details the aims and objectives of the Cross Borders project, as well as providing information about the different materials that have been developed over the course of the project.
It is hoped that dissemination of the resources and materials will hold benefit for refugees, migrants, teachers and trainers worldwide. Although this is a European funded project, with a focus on refugees and migrants from North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, many of the same principles and answers to major questions can be applied globally.
Resources and materials
All resources and materials are free to view and download.
Education of Migrants and Refugees Good Practices & Recommendations informative brochure
Challenges and opportunities of adult educators working with migrants and refugees: Hexagon No. 2: Affection and Belonging and Hexagon No.4: Understanding and Engagement: Case study, Naida Begovic - Sweden.
Catalina is a social psychologist and sociologist who has specialised in formal and non-formal curriculum development, organisational change and process-driven systems. She works closely with disapora leaders in Spain and the UK, co-designing training modules towards social, economic, environmental integration processes and methodologies. She is the Project and Partnership Coordinator for Initiatives of Change (IofC).
You might also be interested in:
- The Promised Land - Intercultural Learning with Refugees and Migrants (resource) - an Erasmus+ project has released an ebook that explores the experiences of refugees and migrants settling in Europe and Turkey, and considers the roles of such places as museums and theatres being cultural hubs that promote positive attitudes to migration
- A Legacy of Impact at Southern Regional College (blog) - discusses an international two year partnership with several EU countries that allowed for the development of an online equality and diversity programme supporting migrant, refugee and asylum seeker communities
- Free Thinking - Lessons learned from survivors of modern slavery - Part One (blog) - covers a special course that gives survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking an education and allows them to enjoy part-time residency at the college
- English for Speakers of Other Languages: access and progression report (resource) - the Department for Education has released a new report that considers the availability of ESOL learning courses and progression in ESOL provision in England