Among immigrants, children and young people are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion. The MINT program is a joint effort of Ocalenie Foundation and partners from four European countries. Its aim is to enable immigrant children, as well as young people from Poland and partner countries, to engage in new integration activities. Via the mentoring program, we want to help to build more integrated communities in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary.
Mentoring program – involvement in educational and social activities
In cooperation with our partners, we developed a replicable mentoring program based on individual contact, good practices and tested models. The mentoring program involves training local volunteer youth and then connecting them with newly arrived children to Poland – migrants and refugees. Mentors and their mentees participate in individual and group meetings dedicated to joint learning, as well as fun and extracurricular activities such as board games, trips exploring Polish culture, and sports events. Volunteers also work on integrating children and young people into their local communities. This helps foreign children make new friends, as well as learn more about the history and customs of their peers’ country.
Acquiring language skills and socio-cultural knowledge
The integration of migrant children and their adventure with learning is also supported by printed and online materials tailored to their needs. Child-friendly online resources are designed to help new arrivals in the country, children and young people gain a deeper understanding of the culture and community of the countries they have arrived in. In addition, children are given the opportunity to learn local languages through online courses offered in a language that the child understands, such as Arabic or Russian.
Counteracting stereotypes about migrants and refugees
As part of the mentoring program, local volunteers along with foreign children and youth identify key topics reflecting the experience of integration. These topics are introduced by them into public discussions through, among others, videos promoted on social media, theater performances, debates with peers in schools, and other local events. These initiatives, led by children and young people, aimed at increasing public awareness, target both members of local communities, as well as decision-makers at a local and national level. By counteracting stereotypes and spreading a positive image of migrant and refugee communities, children and young people have the opportunity to truly have an influence on creating a more friendly atmosphere in their host communities.
Partners: Terre des Hommes Hungary, Organization for Aid to Refugees (Czech Republic), Terre des Hommes Romania, Slovene Philanthropy (Slovenia).
Financing: The project is co-financed by the European Union Fund for Asylum, Migration and Integration.
Duration: January 2019 – January 2021.