Volunteering is a means for refugees and asylum-seekers to get to know their new environment and meet new people.
This module is for motivation and peer-to-peer support for women migrants and is a way to improve their knowledge and better adaptation into a host country.
The role of peer support is a key component to refugee (re-)settlement and integration.
The module is aimed at designing and organizing a training course for persons who could work as support persons or “mediators by experience” within the voluntary and statutory social and health care sectors.
The main objectives for the volunteers are:
- offers peer support by guiding
- other refugees;
- contribution to the planning and development of specific services for persons of concern who have suffered social and mental difficulties;
- mediators can work as facilitators in small groups;
- Participants learn how to listen and guide other persons in need of support.
Duration & Requirements
Time for reading the course – 2 hours.
Time for training of the mediators - 4 weeks traineeships, which include weekly workshops for the mediators to learn new hard and soft skills, information and communication technologies skills and many others.
There aren`t any specific requirements. The learners don’t need to have any particular knowledges or skills. Only internet connection, a notebook and a pen/pencil. It is advisable that the learners consult the reference material and thus deepen the information provided.
AIMS OF THE MODULE
The module is aimed at designing and organizing a training course for persons who could work as support persons or “mediators by experience” within the voluntary and statutory social and health care sectors. The mediator by experience is a person who mediates the experiences of others, including those of refugees and immigrants, to the local authorities. Mediators also offer peer support by guiding other refugees through the social and mental services provided by the municipality.
Mediators by experience can also contribute to the planning and development of specific services for persons of concern who have suffered social and mental difficulties. Lastly, mediators can work as facilitators in small groups. Using their life experiences, mediators by experience work as a bridge between refugees, asylum-seekers, and the local authorities.
During the course, participants learned how to listen and guide other persons in need of support. Several experts, including counsellors from the social and health sector, are going to be invited to give guest lectures during the course.
The participation of refugees in the design of the training course and as certified mediators by experience can help adapt the course to the needs of refugees and their learning styles and barriers.
This course is suitable for organizations, which help women migrants and their adaption in the host country such as:
– Public and private sector organizations.
Motivation for volunteering
Some of the basic reasons for volunteering and helping include:
- Helping others.
- Having an interest in the work or activity.
- Wanting to learn and gain experience.
- Having free time available.
- Being devoted to the cause.
- Knowing someone else who was involved.
Of course, in addition to these basic motivations, people who volunteer find other benefits, including the following ("Matter of Survival: Volunteering," Points of Light Foundation):
- Acquisition of new skills.
- Higher self-esteem.
- New contacts and networks.
- Possibility for a new job.
Volunteer work contributions
Volunteer work contributes to increased social interaction with the host communities. It contributes to developing knowledge about the local community; widens access to information and thus autonomy; helps build-up social networks; and may empower asylum-seekers and refugees to participate more broadly in the life of their country of asylum.
Volunteering may also contribute to improved mental health. Volunteering is a means for refugees and asylum-seekers to get to know their new environment and meet new people.
1. FUNCTIONAL VOLUNTEER MOTIVATIONS:
- Values – where the volunteer sees participation as an opportunity to meaningfully serve others;
- Career – participant views the opportunity as facilitating advancement & networking in their industry or field of work;
- Social – in which the participant receives a measure of acceptance & acknowledgment from peers;
- Understanding – the volunteer gains knowledge or insight from the experience that would be hard to come by otherwise;
- Protective Motives – being a participant ensures they’ll be in emotionally supportive settings;
- Enhancement – volunteerism promotes leadership development and their perception of power.
2. HOW TO INVOLVE WOMEN REFUGEES
Women migrant must be considered as a specific target group because of their vulnerability during exile and upon arrival in European societies. Obviously, the situation of young girls and women arriving in Europe shows great variety. Some come alone, others with their partners and children. Others again are single mothers with children. In addition, in some cases, young unaccompanied minor refugee girls arrive on European soil.
- Many of them had to face extreme violence, sometimes in their home country, most of the time on the exile route and often in the camps upon arrival in Europe.
- Depending on their situation and level of protection, young girls and women often have limited access to their social rights. In certain cases, and especially when they come with family or community members, girls are not allowed to participate in youth work activities and hence are kept back from proper social inclusion.
- On another level, young women often face more difficulties than men do in accessing the labour market. This also depends on their previous level of education and their access to information about rights.
The ideal facilitator/mentor
The idea behind the need for a peer‐to‐peer awareness campaign is to support the target group to develop skills and to allow these women to share results and milestones achieved within their communities, producing a domino effect that leads to an exponential growth in understanding and awareness.
- Hearing positive stories from other migrant women;
- Creating women’s spaces;
- Creating incentives for attendance;
- Maintaining a safe and productive environment;
- Self-worth and self-care;
- Building trust;