In the absence of public integration infrastructures, most of the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers end up in either informal and precarious working conditions or illegal networks after their adulthood. By establishing a thematic, capacity building shelter, we investigate the effectiveness of a new integration model which orients minors towards specialized activity and supports them even after their adulthood by facilitating their interconnection with the local community and labor market.
This gap means that, after entering adulthood, asylum seekers are left to live in autonomous conditions without much -if any- support systems to connect into the labor market. This usually leads them to try to escape from Greece or to survive via illegal networks (trafficking, illegal working conditions, modern forms of slavery etc.), reinforcing their invisibility and further marginalization. ARSIS proposes the establishment of thematic, capacity-building shelters which specifically focus on reinforcing the connection between capacity building and specialized labor and orient minors towards a specialized activity that supports them even after they enter adulthood. In this way, we strengthen the connection between asylum seekers and the local community.
Mosaic Home of Applied Arts with a capacity for 15 minors and from its establishment 3 years ago, has already supported almost 60 youth and is the first integration shelter of its kind in Greece. It has the Ministry’s permission to identify unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in the refugee camps according to its own specific criteria and transfer and accommodate them in the center of Athens. According to these criteria, we identify minors who have turned 16 years of age, show an interest in joining formal or informal education, and have showcased skills in applied arts; that is: carpentry, woodworking, painting, and/or photography. The supports offered continues into adulthood.
Mosaic is an integration shelter for unaccompanied minors established 3 years ago. We identify individuals with interests and skills relevant to applied arts, host them in the center of Athens, support them to join formal and informal education, engage them in photography and/or painting seminars and wood working workshops and turn their works into wooden puzzles with anti-discrimination messages for a social impact. Our request for funding serves to improve and modernize the wood working workshop’s equipment and train the minors in more specialized tools and techniques. Also, we try to improve the puzzles’ production chain by developing further the painting courses and the seminars on advanced technological equipment. In order to do so, we have a three-step-plan: (a) to improve the painting courses by providing the materials and educational/experiential courses and mentoring (b) to upgrade the seminars with advanced equipment training, and (c) to procure advanced equipment for our wood working workshops in order to broaden the wood working team’s field of action and learning, its specialization and skills. Furthermore, we will organize a series of events with discussions and products to exhibit in order to strengthen the interconnection between refugees and locals with the continued support of our wood working team in the neighborhood.
Our target is twofold. First, we try to reinforce asylum seekers’ voices, to multiply their interconnection channels with the local population helping minimize the local stereotypes, and limit their invisibility and marginalization. Second, we try to improve our training techniques for the minors to learn the principles and gain experience working in teams, organizing their work, working in a goal-oriented fashion, and to empower their self-confidence, and build self-esteem.
Ιn the case of refugees, their political and social participation depends on certain conditions which for the local population are often self-evident, given, and not sufficiently appreciated. Among other things, the feeling of social security is an important condition for their active social participation. In addition, issues of self-esteem and language play an important role. From this point of view, by strengthening their social position and empowering their self-esteem, we improve the conditions for integration into social and political life. Furthermore, stereotypes -between others- depend on the “distance” between the power group and those oppressed by it. By multiplying the interconnection channels and reinforcing a creative image of refugees, we strive to fight discrimination.
Mosaic’s staff are people who live in the region and are sensitive/have been educated in social issues. We are passionate workers with deep knowledge in migration, community interventions, and organizing. The team consists of a coordinator, two social workers, a psychologist, a trainer for the wood working workshop, and five caregivers. We are motivated to lessen the problems that unaccompanied minors face living in Greece. Our mission is to strengthen their integration, promote active citizenship, help them regain their sense of identity, and develop the abilities to live in safer and better living conditions. In a stance of solidarity, we stand against all forms of violence, exploitation, and exclusion.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
painting courses (12 months): 4,000.00 €
high-tech training (6 months): 6,000.00 €
equipment for wood working workshops: 18,000.00 €
raw materials for wood working workshop: 3,000.00 €
consumables for wood working workshop: 1,000.00 €
Any suggestions and experience regarding how to increase exposure, both in physical and digital spaces, event ideas, Strengthening local partnerships and possibilities to connect and collaborate on international projects.