21 June, 2016

Worldplayers – youthwork without borders

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Category: Asylum seekers, Refugees
Community Manager
3 pm

More and more people are fleeing war, violence and persecution. The conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea etc. cause enormous amounts of people to seek safety and refuge. Many end up in Europe. Among them are families with children, but many children are also fleeing without a parent or guardian.

These unsupervised minors are in need of special attention and adjusted shelter arrangements. A thorough and qualitative integration in their country of arrival will be crucial, if they are to thrive in their adult lives. The youth sector in Flanders, Belgium decided to play a part in that process.

What if… youth work in Flanders offers its necessary support and empowerment not only to its native children and youngsters but to all young people living in Flanders including refugees?

Youth work is an environment where it’s is okay for young people to fail, where they grow and learn responsibility. It is an open space to play, experiment and most importantly experience what it means to work together in a group setting.

As a sector, it is our dream to reach all children and youngsters living in shelters in Flanders within a few years and offer to them these great advantages. But we have to start somewhere.

In this first phase of the project we choose to have our volunteers immersed in shelters for a whole weekend rather than have them organize short workshops. This to ensure that the overall learning experience, and network-building with the young refugees can achieve maximal effect.

Bi-weekly we have been organizing “Worldplayers”-weekends in a first shelter. The weekends have been received very well. Both volunteers and young refugees thoroughly enjoy the time spent together, and inspire one another to further explore the possibilities for youth work to enable integration.

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