Creative social problem solving in refugee and immigrant youth integration

According to the data of Lithuanian Migration Department at the beginning of 2018, 43.000 foreigners lived in the Republic of Lithuania. If we compare the data to 2013, it was 33,267 foreigners (http://123.emn.lt/#chart-39-desc). This difference shows that the amount of foreigners living in Lithuania is increasing every year. Huge migration flows are seen in partners’ countries such as Italy, Greece, Turkey. For example, more than 3.5 million people displaced by the violence there have sought refuge in Turkey. Their numbers, through births and new arrivals, are increasing by approximately 1,000 people per day. The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Italy has more than tripled 2017 year, according to the United Nations, making it the fastest-growing sea route into Europe. As of 1 January 2017, there was 5,047,028 foreign nationals resident in Italy. This amounted to 8.2% of the country’s population and represented an increase of 92,352 over the previous year. Taking into account this data, we can state that the migrants’ population is increasing every year in all of Europe. After coming to a new country, migrants including refugees face social, political, economic, cultural and educational integration problems. International and national studies show that refugee and immigrant youth face social integration problems all over the world (Ukasoanya, 2013; Rogers-Sirin, 2014; Maydell-Stevens et al., 2007; Ogunsiji et al., 2012; Wilkinson 2008; Montgomery, 2008, Zydziunaite, 2012, Bartkeviciene, 2013,). Refugees and immigrant youth face acculturation difficulties, lack of social networks, language barrier, lack of information, discrimination issues, problems in the labor market. It is important to emphasize that there is a need of social workers who work with migrants and the need for improved professional development to solve the problems of work in this Area (Bartkevičienė, Raudeliūnaitė, 2014). Taking into account this research conclusion, we can state that there is a growing need for development of creative social problems solving skills for youth specialists who are working or seeking to work in the integration process of refugee and immigrant youth. A possible solution to these problems was found by organizing training for youth specialists.

The main goal of the project was to develop creative social problems solving skills of youth specialists working or seeking to work in the integration process of refugee and immigrant youth.

The project goal was achieved through following objectives:

  • to create possibilities for youth specialists to learn Creative Art Techniques focused on solving social problems of young refugee and immigrants through theoretical and practical ways;
  • to develop personal and intercultural competences of youth specialists;
  • to create international network of organizations working with Creative Art Techniques in the field of refugee and immigrant youth integration.

In the project, we involved youth specialists who were motivated to join our project and were seeking/willing to improve creative social problems solving skills in the field in the integration of refugee and immigrant youth. In the training participated 24 youth workers/specialists/volunteers.

During and after the training participants got theoretical knowledge about creative art techniques and its benefits. As well as theoretical aspects of creative art, techniques were presented. They developed practical skills how to use creative art techniques in working field. During the training, youth specialists have participated in experiential workshops, in which they were encouraged to share their own experiences. Participants developed Problem-solving skills based on art techniques through personal life experience. During the training, all participants were involved in self–reflection process, which encouraged professional development.

Project funded under „Erasmus +“ program