#BarcelonaPLA: Migrant youth at risk in the focus

As a member of the SIRIUS Policy Network on Migrant Education, an international network that brings together key stakeholders in migration and education from around Europe, including policy makers, researchers, practitioners and representatives of migrant communities, and a dissemination partner in the SIRIUS Project, NEPC had a great opportunity and privilege to participate at the Peer Learning Activity (PLA) in Barcelona hosted by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) focused on the migrant youth at risk.

Peer Learning Activity took place in Barcelona on the 4th and 5th November 2021 under the guidance of the Miquel Àngel Essomba Gelabert, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Director of the research team ERDISC (Research on diversity and inclusion within complex societies) who shared the immense knowledge and expertise on the topic as well as the significant and impactful experiences from the practice. The experience was enriched by the support of the PLA participants from diverse institutions and organisations united under the SIRIUS network.

In order to get the holistic understanding of the topic, mentoring programs for migrant youth at risk in Barcelona, program included both formal and non-formal education dimensions, as well as the policy, research and social components.

From the formal education perspective, we have witnessed the engaged and proactive school and its collective that nurtures the inclusion of young migrants by providing them with skills necessary for the equal participation in the society, both from the cognitive and social aspects and at the same time offers empowerment and support for personal growth. Learn more about the INS Consell de Cent and their inspiring practices here.

However, most of these activities wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of the community, NGOs and volunteers active in the community. From that non-formal education perspective, various activities and programs that support young migrants at risk outside the official school settings were presented. We’ve visited the Associació Educativa Integral del Raval (AEIRaval) and Associació Superacció and seen diverse initiatives, projects and activities focused on the  providing support in the fields young migrants at risk require, from language skills and learning support, via social skills and guidance in the various complex administration procedures, all the way to the counselling and emotional support. Find out how supporting community leads to being supported by the community and learn more about the holistic approach to mentoring programs with mental health at its core here.

Additionally, the importance of all formal and non-formal educational factors on the newly arrived migrant students school trajectories has been proven in a study we also had opportunity to learn more about.

Moreover, complexity of the situation young migrants at risk are facing has resulted in several significant social projects that are contributing to the inclusion of the young migrants at risk and at the same time giving back to the community through their services. We have visited Norai Raval and Mescladis, and here you can see why we say they are more than “just a restaurants”.

Finally, we were just in time to see all this hard work, dedication, advocacy and collaboration being rewarded by the reform of the legislation on the foreigners that should contribute to the easier inclusion of the unaccompanied minors and young migrants in Spain. Here you can further explore this topic.

We will share the acquired knowledge and significant experiences we had the opportunity to gather and monitor the further development of the new legislation reform on the foreigners in the practice, all with hope that it will be inspiration and recognized and implemented in other communities where people are in need and require support in social inclusion.