What should community spaces look like? Young migrants from Germany share some ideas

In an era where migration patterns are increasingly complex and diverse, the challenge of social integration and cohesion within communities has never been more critical. “Shared Spaces” aims to address the pressing issues of social isolation and exclusion that many young migrants face in marginalized and remote districts; while fostering an inclusive environment that is culturally sensitive and relevant to their diverse backgrounds. The initial phase of our project has been dedicated to research on understanding the complexities of the issues at hand.

The following report outlines our research in Germany, which involved conducting focus groups with young migrants and educators, disseminating surveys to young people, and interviewing youth workers whose roles intersect with our project’s goals. These are the main findings.

Key strategies from focus group research: Establish judgment-free zones where young migrants feel comfortable and welcomed, using consistent activities to build familiarity; provide language support and create flexible participation opportunities to mitigate feelings of alienation and language difficulties; utilize preferred social media platforms for outreach and ensure event information is comprehensive and disseminated well in advance.

Key strategies from case studies research: Spaces are seen as methods to empower youth by allowing them to execute their projects and come up with new ideas; establishing personal relationships and trust is deemed crucial for engaging young people in new experiences; focus on recognizing the unique backgrounds and stories of individuals for societal benefit; provide translations and explanations at events, to ensure inclusivity and understanding among diverse audiences; encourage creativity and innovation; create opportunities for community to come together in celebration.

Key findings from survey with young people: Interest in activities showed a range from cultural exchanges, language courses, and practical workshops, followed by sports, arts and crafts, and networking events, and finishing with culinary events and sessions about entrepreneurship. Young people desire more inclusive and accessible community spaces, with events that cater to diverse interests and skills development opportunities.

In conclusion, shared spaces must be adaptable, responsive, and rooted in the needs and desires of the communities they serve. They should provide a variety of activities that reflect the rich diversity of interests and backgrounds. These spaces should be platforms for empowerment, offering not just activities, but also opportunities for leadership, learning, and growth. It is also crucial to empower young individuals by providing them with the resources to lead and organize activities, which in turn can enhance their sense of belonging.

This project (Pr. Nr.: 2023-1-SE02-KA210- YOU-000160073) is funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ program. Its consortium is assembled by Culture Goes Europe e.V. from Germany, Goodness of People from Sweden, Logos from Poland, and Fedelatina from Spain.

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