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RIME: innovative and creative tools for the inclusion of refugees ​

RIME: innovative and creative tools for the inclusion of refugees

Project Erasmus + Refugees' Inclusion Mouves Europe

Christophe Miqueu, Professor of Philosophy at University of Bordeaux (INSPE – SPH), is a specialist in the history of political thought and the philosophy of education.

He evaluated the results of the international cooperation project RIME – Refugees’ Inclusion Moves Europe, which aims to develop the skills of people working for the inclusion and support of refugees. Professionals from 7 organisations were able to exchange, experiment, develop and initiate the innovative practices described in this article over a period of 2.5 years.

The following is a summary of his evaluation report.

The main achievement of the project was the creation of different materials, with an immediate practical approach, aimed at inclusion in the long term so that the refugee becomes a cohabitant, a colleague, and eventually a fellow citizen. Here is a summary of the 3 tools tested.

 

  • A methodology for the creation of a welcome guide that can be transposed to different local contexts and that integrates migrants’ experiences

The partners carried out a synthetic and precise analysis of the current conditions of reception of refugees and of the laws in force in each of the countries involved in the project (France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Sweden), in order to deploy more practical and operational tools.

The partners started from the “Refugee Guide” created by Welcome Bordeaux. The guide was analysed to see how it could be transposed and more widely disseminated in Europe, by adapting it to the different local contexts.

 

The resulting report and toolkit, which is intended to facilitate the duplication of the guide, are a testament to the quality of the thinking and the collective work that has been done and is still being done.

On the basis of this research and collaboration, a guide for asylum seekers was designed for Malta. It is a real operational tool, readable and taking into account short, medium and long term issues.

The integration of migrants themselves in the design, reflection on the content and production of this guide is particularly successful: it has enabled the tool to be at the very heart of the issues and realities addressed.

Interviews were carried out with refugees, to encourage their inclusion, to gather their experiences, to free up their voices and to cross-reference their stories. According to our teacher, these interviews could even have been conducted without guiding questions, in order to free their speech completely.

 

  • Comics as a universal tool for collecting complex life experiences and conveying information

A collective comic book was produced to highlight the different stories of refugee experience in the different partner countries of the project. It was produced under the direction of the European partners with a Franco-Cameroonian comic book writer Christophe Edimo, thus ensuring creative unity. The comic book respectfully records life experiences, transcribes the tragic moments and complexities of reception, while highlighting the challenge of stabilisation, the discovery of the other and the gradual inclusion in a new environment.

The use of comics makes it possible to address the largest possible number of people and to convey messages in a way that is understandable, beyond the language barrier. This tool also helps to train peer helpers through simple and clear messages.

 

  • From migrants to carers: inclusion through peer support

The partners have promoted the inclusion of newcomers by peers, and have worked on how to train these peer helpers – a very innovative proposal. Peer helpers have a better understanding of the issues and often tragic situations they themselves have experienced, and facilitate exchanges thanks to a common culture that limits misunderstandings and apprehension, which are already high on arrival in a new host country. This also makes it possible not to overlook the tragic context of exile and to value life paths.

This part of the project, supported by the COS Alexander Glasberg Foundation, aimed to develop peer support skills with a focus on integration through employment. Two tools were created to achieve this objective.

The first tool is a training course based on an experiment in mentoring in the catering industry. It is aimed at trainers and refugees so that they can grasp the essential skills to be acquired in order to help future arrivals. It includes testimonies from newcomer refugees who have undergone the training and from refugees who have become peer helpers to better understand the concrete impact of these new practices and the points to watch out for. This training course, which includes many materials, bears witness to the ongoing work of peer support in the refugee reception sector.
The experimentation of Mentoring Guide were created in collaboration with, Refugees Peer helpers (Anna Gregoryan, Muhammadin Nazari, Iyad Kallas, Narine Lalayan, Mahshid Mirghazanfari), Envol33 (Vincent Balzamo), INFA (Bastien Pouzou), Refugee Food Festival & Marie Curry (Sandrine
Rivoltela).
These modules were created in collaboration with Soumia El Yousfi, peer helper expert.

The second tool is a mapping of refugee inclusion in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This tool, made up of guides and short animated videos, perfectly links global approaches and local responses and demonstrates that decent reception at the local level, with peer support as an operational solution, meets the SDGs on health, inequality, gender equality and the fight against climate change.

In conclusion: by relying on the Guide du Régugié, which has confirmed its relevance in the field of refugee reception, by including the multiplicity of life paths and the participatory method, by using comics as a universal medium, by encouraging peer support, the RIME project makes it possible to give a credible perspective to the major issue of the medium and long-term stabilisation of new arrivals, in particular through economic inclusion and collective autonomy.

Find the entire evaluation report on this link.

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RIME-How arts and crafts contribute to the inclusion of refugees.​

RIME-How arts and crafts contribute to the inclusion of refugees.

Why artistic activities are relevant for inclusion

Our project aims to show that cultural work can be an economic driving force for the companies that operate in this field and for refugee people, who are valued in their skills or trained in learning new ones.

The aim of the training is to know, analyze and discuss some of the different possibilities of carrying out artistic and creative activities in favor of the social and economic inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees In the Bologna area.

Inside the RIME project, the Italian partner Lai-momo involved and coordinated the artistic work of 10 cartoonists to create as many comics telling stories of inclusion lived by refugees in the five partner countries of the project.

Lai-momo and Africa e Mediterraneo association in the field of African culture and art, have a long experience from the comic strip publishing to the most recent experience of the Cartiera leather workshop of the Abantu cooperative. That is why they have decided to present the activities that they carry out in these areas among others, and to explore further initiatives of other associations and cooperatives working in the artistic and craft sectors involving refugees recently arrived in Bologna.

Manual work, applied to the creation of products which involve creativity and aesthetic quality can also have “therapeutic” effects in people who have suffered trauma or who live in situations of discomfort.

Another important role that cultural and artistic activities can play is to raise awareness of host communities and institutions on the issue of international protection and inclusion of refugees together with creating relationships between people that foster inclusion at a personal and a social level.

Course of the workshop

The training lasted five days.

At the beginning, Lai Momo gave some context information about refugees in Italy. It was a strong request from the partners from the different countries who are very interested to exchange know how about these legal aspects. After the presentation and illustration of Lai-momo activities for the refugees’ inclusion, the group visited different situations where arts and crafts workshops are carried out employing refugees. They met an association that realizes, among other artistic activities, theatrical performances involving refugees and visited together one of their artistic installations on the reception of migrants in Europe.

They finished having a walk on the hills of the Marzabotto Memorial Park where they met people from Monte Sole Peace School.

A collective restitution was proposed on the last day.

A special exhibition « RIME Comics Exhibition Finissage” was also held to present the remarkable outcomes of this initiative, in which six African authors illustrated six comic novels on the issue of immigrants and displaced women and men in Europe.

 

Example places of the training and visits:

Project website: https://rime-refugees-inclusion.eu/ 

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2021,a summary of Refugee’s Inclusion Moves Europe in France

2021,a summary of Refugee’s Inclusion Moves Europe in France

Since 2020, the Covid has been disrupting sector like social inclusion; however, with Covid, the Rime project has grown throughout the year, and its influence in France has grown as well. 

World Refugee Day, June 21

World Refugee Day, organised by SOS Méditérranée France took place on Sunday 20th June in Cenon (France) at the Le Rocher de Palmer. Le Laba and Fondation COS, our french partners in the project, had a stand to present RIME, and during this day with wonderful meets, they have successfully presented our project as well as part of our intellectual output, educational tools, and comic strips.

Bordeaux training courses, November 21

During the week of November 22nd, Le LABA co-organized a training week with the COS Foundation on the theme of “The objectives of peer support in the economic integration of refugees in urban and rural areas.” Presentations, speeches, debates, and workshops filled the week, giving our partners from five countries more ideas for the future development of refugee inclusion. 

Publication : Methodology of the guide

The project Rime was born on the basis of the refugee’s guide; to increase its impact, we published Methodology of the guide, a guide that helps others create their own refugee’s guide in different languages. A document containing an overview of the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in France, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Sweden can also provide the public with additional information about the refugee’s situation.
Both of these documents are now available on the site :https://rime-refugees-inclusion.eu/ressources/refugees-guide/

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Peer support, a potential tool for refugees’ inclusion ?

Peer support, a potential tool for refugees’ inclusion ?

Can peer support hasten professional inclusion?

The COS foundation conducted a 10-month experiment within the framework of the project RIME-refugees’ inclusion moves Europe, to produce a more reliable and useful guide for people who want to invest themselves in the support of newcomers.This experiment contributes to the project RIME’s Interlectural Output.

Experimentation, for what?

The COS foundation needs to produce a mentoring guide as part of the RIME project. Based on this dynamic experimentation, it is easier to obtain more genuine visions, real experiences, and real desires of refugees, which will undoubtedly facilitate the preparation of the mentoring guide.

Mentoring guide, for whom?

This guide is for training organizations that work in the refugee integration field.

It comprises clearly defined learning objectives, knowledge, and abilities, as well as a wealth of resources, pedagogical methodologies, and supplementary information and assistance.

Refugees’ professional inclusion, why peer-support?

Every refugee has their unique story; as an outsider, it is tough to comprehend their hardships; nevertheless, someone who has lived a similar life can assist with faster integration and resolution of problems using the same thinking logic.

Peer-support experiment, what happened?

Following the formation of working groups and the designation of catering as their field of activity from August 2020, group sessions have been held on a regular basis since December 2020. During this time, the cos foundation also organized individual meetings and individual interviews between newcomers and the company manager/training organization and/or peer helper.

Highlight:

The March 22-23,25 Collective Training Sessions were a big success, with introductions to the catering sector, requests for assistance, sharing of personal experiences, and courses on labor rights. Newcomers were enthusiastic about all of the courses and topics. However, these seminars not only aided newcomers, but the COS foundation also gathered a wealth of information on the inclusion of refugees.

Peer-support experiment, what impact?

The COS foundation noticed that it is a useful technique to assist new refugees in integrating into a new society, and they are currently conducting it in various collective workshops while also attempting to raise awareness of peer support as a tool for inclusion among all of their members.

Simultaneously, the next mentoring guide will assist all other mentors.

 

Peer-support experiment, any recommendation?

After the experiment, the cos foundation gave the following advice based on their experience:

  • Choose a promising area of activity to work in.
  • Begin with the individual’s project.
  • Include peer caregivers as early as possible and throughout the process (starting with follow-up interviews)
  • Ensure that all actors are involved and adhere to a same goal.
  • Encourage involvement without regard to language barriers.
  • Estimate the amount of time you’ll need and the amount of prep work you’ll have to do if you have a poor language level (translated tools, appropriation of the project by the refugees)

All project RIME stakeholders received a greater awareness of the need for refugees as a result of this fantastic experiment. Hopefully, this guide will enable future peer supporters enter their professions in a more conductive and efficient manner.