Flight and migration
Flight, migration and refugees’ participation in society have been major topics of public and youth policy debate at the latest since 2015, when refugees began to reach Germany in large numbers. This has also had an impact on international youth work. Independently of their status, child and adolescent refugees enjoy the same rights as their peers in Germany. They have a right to social participation, to support in managing their lives, and to assistance as they undergo personal development. They are also entitled to education, both formal and informal. This is where (international) youth work comes in.
Organisations with a strong track record in youth exchanges and their full-time and volunteer staff have valuable expertise that can be used to build vital bridges between refugees and Germans. The educational approach underlying international youth work offers hands-on methods to help deal with individuals from unfamiliar cultural backgrounds and with different religious beliefs and philosophies. It also offers methods for language mediation and intercultural and diversity-aware learning. These approaches are helpful for experts who work with refugees as well as for the refugees themselves. They help them to communicate and understand each other’s perspectives and prevent racism and discrimination from emerging in the first place. Likewise, international youth work can make a valuable contribution to opening up child and youth services providers to other cultures and in turn, helping to create a welcoming culture in Germany.