[WATCH] Community building initiatives encourage migrant inclusion, counter racism, publication concludes

JRS publish ‘I Get You’, examining use of community building to prevent racism and xenophobia and emphasising need for policies, services and structures to help integration

JRS project 'I Get You' concludes that community building initiatives encourage forced migrant social inclusion and help work against racism and xenophobia
JRS project 'I Get You' concludes that community building initiatives encourage forced migrant social inclusion and help work against racism and xenophobia

 

Jesuit Refugee Service Malta have launched a publication, on best practices in using community building to prevent racism and xenophobia with regard to forced migrants, which highlights the work being done by Maltese civil society organisations in providing refugees and migrants with basic, but essential, services.

The publication, entitled ‘I Get You: Refugees and citizens together against racism and xenophobia’, is based on a project, started in 2015 and led by JRS Europe, with partners in eight countries, which mapped and assessed initiatives of civil society to determine the best way of helping refugees restart their lives while also improving the community, JRS said in a press release.

The project came to the conclusion that initiatives for community building - namely those which bring people together to speak about their experiences and get to know each other - encourage forced migrant social inclusion and help work against racism and xenophobia, the refugee organisation maintained.

“When the project started, much of Europe was still coming to terms with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in search of protection. Their arrival was met with mixed reactions. While many responded with fear and hostility, others reached out to the new arrivals, opening the doors of their homes, offering shelter and practical support, and building relationships,” JRS said, adding that ‘I Get You’ celebrated civil society, initiatives, be they formal, informal, organised or unplanned, which strived to remove things which divide us and encourage people to come together, understand one another and construct relationships.

The report emphasised the pressing need for policies, services and structures, on a local level, which promote and help the integration of forced migrants in a coherent and systematic way, while also giving suggestions on how to reach this goal.

“The report, with its focus on community building, is particularly pertinent in the current national context, where migrants and asylum seekers are too often portrayed and perceived as an unwelcome burden, bringing crime and disorder to local communities. Our findings indicate that while a strong legal framework with effective enforcement mechanisms is essential, this alone is nowhere near sufficient to ensure the wellbeing of society."

"To achieve this we need to go beyond and to invest resources, time and energy in initiatives that promote understanding, respect and reconciliation between different communities living within our localities,” JRS asserted.

The report on Malta can be found here: https://issuu.com/sarahgiusti/docs/igymalta_pages

 

 

 

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe