Anyone that moves to a country with different culture, traditions and practices from one’s own can be expected to undergo a significant adjustment period. Refugees accepted for resettlement often come straight out of refugee camps and have little if any knowledge of the societal and economic realities which await them. Like others who have left their homes and resettled in a foreign land, refugees may feel worried and frustrated as they adjust to life in the host country. This is especially evident for young refugees in transition to adulthood, who can experience unsafe or problematic living conditions, non-access to education, multiple displacements, pressure to earn a living and provide care for their families and in the medium- and long-term maladaptation with respect to the cultural norms of the hosting country (Norwegian Refugee Council, Syrian Refugee Youth: Drivers of change – ignored and marginalized). At the same time, although Europeans are open to other cultures and lifestyles, there are certain basic values, behaviours, and practices that they expect from residents of their countries. The increasing migratory flows in EU make the need for organized refugee/migrant integration mechanisms more urgent than ever.
To assist young refugees settle into a new community, country and society and move towards independence, self-sufficiency, active citizenship and participation, and at the same time enhance the role and efficiency of refugee integration workers, BLEND-IN, a 24 months funded project, will develop a comprehensive orientation toolkit/mobile application, orienting newly resettled young refugees into the national social, cultural and economic realities of the receiving countries. The orientation toolkit will include basic topics, such as basic language use, living and housing conditions, access to mainstream services such as health and education, access to employment, community services, keeping and sharing your cultural identity, national laws, and their rights and responsibilities. In order to cover the widest possible refugee population (49% of refugees are Syrians, 26% Afghani, 16% Iraqi (Greece) and 18% Nigerians, 12% Gambians (Italy)), the application will be available in Arabic, Pashto and English.
The Project is funded by the European Commission and will run for 24 months (14 November 2016 – 13 November 2018).