New whitepaper: Vulnerabilities and Responsibilities of Migrant Teens

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New whitepaper: Vulnerabilities and Responsibilities of Migrant Teens

In our round table discussion on the vulnerabilities and responsibilities of migrant teens, we focused on adolescents with a migration background living in Belgium. The results of the round table discussion have been summarized in 15 policy statements. For the expanded policy statements and more information on the participants to the round table, please download our whitepaper here.

  1. It is important that people working in education, integration offices and social-cultural work are trained to consider ‘religion’ as part of personal development and fruitful social cohabitation.
  2. It is important to criticize on the public forum the notion of ‘integration’, its presuppositions and its (hidden) effects.
  3. It is also important to criticize on the public forum the process of ‘essentialisation’ of religion.
  4. It is important that professionals who work with young people learn more about processes of ‘othering’, how these processes contribute to experiences of exclusion, and about positive sides of being different in particular contexts.
  5. It is important that policy makers focus first of all on participation of migrant teens with various groups in society presuming that most want to participate while asking which factors might prevent them from participating.
  6. It is very important that policy makers take initiatives to make sure that ‘safe places’ are created for migrant teens.
  7. It is important that policy makers, teachers, and researchers work together to study how gender is related to experiences of religion for young migrants.
  8. Policies on migration and integration need flexibility for different life situations and especially for young people in addition to the age. Different strategies/opportunities should be offered for young people to participate in a variety of settings including education, labour, and enrichment.
  9. Enhancing participation of migrant teens supposes the support of a variety of groups/organisations where they can meet others, based on a subsidiarity principle.
  10. Support and create opportunities to develop sustainable relationships with other adolescents locally through school and activities.
  11. Material/physical needs and emotional/existential/spiritual needs have to be addressed. Support for migrant teens should not be restricted to financial or material aid. The offer of support for the whole person (including biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects) is important.
  12. Religious communities can be very important for persons with a migration background. Religious practices such as common prayer, community building, social care, faith and hope might help migrants to flourish. Especially relevant is also the task of making sustainable relations possible.
  13. Policy makers, teachers, migrant workers, youth workers, and the general public should learn more about ‘hidden difference’. It is important that both newcomers and local communities are supported through opportunities for intercultural training where together they can practice listening and dialogue.
  14. It is important to recognize that migration often leads to a trauma for teenagers.
  15. Skills and supports made available for particular groups of migrants should be integrated more widely for all children with a migration background. 

Download the full whitepaper below.

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