Transnational Partner Meeting

The TPM was hosted by Red Incola, a non-profit organisation, built as an association in 2006, and as a Foundation in 2011. The general board is composed of nine religious entities, connected in a collective network to carry out a joint mission: supporting the immigrant population in risk situations of exclusion, in the promotion and defence of their rights so that they can have a dignified life. As an organisation, Red Incola wishes to contribute to this effort, offering their reflections and work as an integrated response to the challenges presented by the issues of migration; they strive to improve the quality of their programs and to increase their influence in the pursuit of a more just society.

Through the overall meeting, the partners had the chance to meet and work on the implementation of the final publication and to examine and present the results of the questionnaires conducted over the last months. The final publication is indeed the result of the research work carried out by partners towards the specific target groups:

  • researchers
  • youth workers
  • members of migrant associations
  • teachers
  • trainers

On the first working day, the hosting Red Incola presented the foundation and its composition, plus the activities and projects they are involved in.

Red Incola deal with new migrants that arrive at Valladolid, helping the ones presenting the most difficult situations. The Foundation was indeed created back in 2000 to collaborate specifically with migrant people.
For example, they provide supplies like food and clothes through the “Banco de Alimentos”, plus participate the Erasmus Programme and carry out daily activities with the help of 400 volunteers each year. In the education field, they can count on the help of teachers and volunteers.

Thanks to their internal welcome center, they support migrants providing:

  • Spanish classes
  • after-school support for migrant students
  • professional training
  • a youth area dedicated to young people, as a safe intercultural environment, with 35 people actively participating it
  • the project Cafè Solidario for homeless people: every Monday and Wednesday night the volunteers spend some time with homeless people, providing warm beverages, talking and listening to them
  • the project Calor y Café, that started right after Covid, to get homeless people participate in activities. Once per week on Friday the volunteers bring them to museums or other parts of the city that they don’t even know about. Plus, they provide for them Spanish classes. The majority of them come from Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Bulgaria and Romania.

After Red Incola presentation, the representative of ECEPAA set out the Agenda of the TPM.

Questionnaires results

ECEPAA presented the results of the questionnaires conducted among researchers. 

According to the opinion of the researchers that did the survey, the impact of the pandemic has been negative on education, social exclusion, mental health and other primary needs. The lockdown period will have a long-term impact, with consequences such as school drop-out, and social exclusion. The issue of school drop-out will depend mainly on the knowledge of digital competences – not only for students, but also for teachers, trainers and researchers.

The interviewees experienced also a limited accessibility and a financial difficulty in finding digital tools. The overall assumption is that in the long-term this will lead to a lower level of education.

The measures put in place by the government (Belgium) were not sufficient, and universities tried to cope providing computers or money to buy a digital device to students who couldn’t afford it.

The problems that will arise in future are:

  • a lower level of education
  • a lack in reading, writing and communication competences

The lack of knowledge on how to use digital devices, both by students and teachers, is another important issue.

AMECE presented the results of the questionnaires conducted over members of migrant associations. 

The 92% of interviewees have a migrant background, and most of them come from North Africa, Poland, Syria, Venezuela and Mexico. Most of them work with teenagers.

According to the results of the surveys, the activities of young people with a migrant background changed and increased after Covid, but passed online. The activities were carried out during the lockdown with difficulty, even though the interviewees found the way to reach out to some 200 young people with a migrant background, also providing internet connection when needed and digital devices.

Many young people (boys) felt the need of in-person activities and relationships in order for them to integrate better. The problems connected to remote activities were:

  • poor internet connection
  • more distraction

For young girls turned out to be a different experience, as they stay mostly at home due to cultural reasons.

80% found it difficult to do activities from remote
45% never used the digital tools
95% started using other tools ne ver used before
99% want to use these tools also in the future
Many blame the fact that they were not helped during the pandemic 

Red Incola presented the results of the questionnaires conducted with trainers.

According to the results, the lack of participation to online activities is due to the fact that young people with a migrant background didn’t have access to the internet.

The trainers experienced difficulties in communicating with them, the overall stress level also increased as the number of working hours.

Associazione Joint presented the results of the questionnaires conducted with youth workers.

According to the answers, no one said that there was a positive effect of the pandemic in any field (education, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, knowledge of the local language, social inclusion, primary needs), the worse effect being on social inclusion.

The mentoring activities didn’t change much, while the amount of in-person work decreased.

The elements that most affected negatively the participation of young people with a migrant background to in-person activities were:

  • fear of catching Covid
  • loss of connection after the lockdown
  • loss of motivation

The issues faced with online activities instead were: poor internet connection and lack of digital devices.

The 2nd Vocational School of Katerini presented the results of the questionnaires conducted with teachers. 

The interviewees don’t see a phenomenon of school drop-out after the lockdown. The largest percentage of teachers believe that the increase of use of digital tools in education affected students.

Most of them faced problems in teaching during the pandemic.

Most of them believe that the level of learning was fairly the same during the pandemic, and also that educating students with a migrant background is more difficult than educating local students.

Visit to Residencia Don Bosco

On the second day, the participants has the chance to visit the Federation de Centros Juveniles Don Bosco.

Don Bosco work for the defence and promotion of childhood and youth at risk of exclusion. In Spain it networks through 9 federations and 41 youth centers. Don Bosco started its activity in 1995 with 5 youth centers. They can now reach 1600 young people, also thanks to the participation of 550 volunteers.

Don Bosco is also member of different networks and works with other entities in social programmes, third sector, youth. They also participate in the Erasmus plus programme, the European Solidarity Corps programme and in Inclusive Break, that provides equal opportunities in educational centers.

The visit was enriched by the presentation of 2 projects:

  • Casa Juventud Aleste, to support children and young people of the East neighbourhood of the city. with education, after-school activities, social inclusion. It also support special programs for families, employment and social integration, promoting equality good health habits and sport. Last year the project saw the participation of 1364 people, 168 families, of which 20% were migrants.
  • Proyecto Invitacion para la inclusion: as a result of the pandemic, socially vulnerable groups have seen their social exclusion accentuated due to the lack of access to the internet and training in new technologies. Thanks to the Castilla y Leon solidarity challenge of the Tatiana Perez de Guzman el Bueno Foundation and the Botin Foundation, the following entities – Federation Don Bosco Youth Centers, Fundacion Secretariado Gitano, Red Incola Foundation and Valdoco – have launched this project to support and improve the digitalisation of people in vulnerable situations.

Final Publication

Finally, the partners have been working on the methodologies and contents to start putting together the results and assumptions out the questionnaires and focus groups conducted, in order to prepare the final publication that will contain the good practices and recommendations to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on the education and learning of young migrants.