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.
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.
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.
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
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.