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Integrating refugees into European society and structures stands at the centre of political debates across the European Union. Significantly, while established national and regional institutions appear to be struggling with these challenges, Europe’s younger generation is doing things differently. With fresh ideas and different perspectives on the world, millennials have been testing out innovative initiatives and approaches to help refugees become part of local communities in many parts of Europe.
Friends of Europe is very much part of the Europe-wide conversation on refugee integration. This factsheet is based on our open source-based research on the many ways in which young Europeans are driving the integration process through private initiatives and projects. Having scrutinised a number of such impressive millennial-led initiatives, we took an independent decision to select five projects which we believe are transforming the current rather damaging narrative on refugees that too often portrays them as helpless victims. In contrast, the projects we have identified treat refugees as empowered individuals who are actively working to speed up their own integration into local communities.
Each project is unique in its purpose, location and outcome. A common thread, however, is that refugees and local communities are working together as partners. Rather than being infantilised or regarded as mere statistics, refugees are seen as individuals, each with their own skills, ambitions and ideas. Our publication aims to shed light on how these projects can help people to feel at home in Europe. We believe that there is much here that others, including established institutions, policymakers and funders, can learn from.
IMAGE CREDIT: Startblok