Migrant children and youth are especially vulnerable to social exclusion. Through the MINT project (Mentoring for the Integration of children affected by Migration), supported by the European Commission, Terre des hommes and its partners aim to empower refugee and migrant children as well as European youth to engage in new integration activities. By using an innovative mentoring programme, Tdh contributes to building more inclusive societies in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.
Around 30% of the migrant population reaching Europe in recent years were children – many of them separated or unaccompanied. In their host countries, migrant children and youth face considerable challenges in terms of education, social inclusion, and subsequent employment. As part of this EU-funded project, we work in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia to support and facilitate the integration process of children, enhance social relations, and empower both local youth and third-country national children.
Together with its partners, Tdh is designing an innovative and replicable peer-to-peer mentoring programme based on good practices and tested models. The mentoring programme includes training local youth volunteers and pairing them with newly arrived migrant and refugee children. They both then participate in individual and group meetings focused on educational and language support as well as on recreational activities such as board games.
In each country, the volunteers facilitate the integration of migrant and refugee children in the local host communities by introducing them to other children and organising common outdoor sports and socio-cultural activities, such as visiting historical museums, watching popular national movies, or organising sport competitions, including football matches. This will help third-country national children make new friends and become more familiar with the host community’s history and habits. The goal of this mentoring programme is to enroll at least 120 children in formal or informal education.
Migrant children’s integration and learning journey is supported by adapted print and online content. The child-friendly online resources will help newly arrived children understand the national cultural and social characteristics of the four project countries. Further, children will have the opportunity to learn the local languages through offline and online courses offered in a language that children understand, such as Arabic or Farsi. Overall, more than 1,000 children will acquire the basic knowledge and skills to engage in social relations.
As part of the mentoring programme, groups of local youth and third-country national children will identify key topics reflecting the integration experience. They will bring these topics into public discussions through videos promoted online and through theatre plays, debates with peers in schools, or other local offline events. These child-led awareness raising and advocacy initiatives will address members of local communities and policy makers both locally and nationally. By countering stereotypes and promoting a positive image of migrant and refugee communities, children will benefit from a more welcoming atmosphere within the host societies.
The MINT project is co-funded by the European Union, through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Proiectul MINT este co-finanțat de Uniunea Europeană, prin Fondul pentru Azil, Migrație și Integrare