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Building a Resettlement Network of European Cities and Regions- Experiences of the SHARE Network 2012-2015

“Either we enable migrants to become part of the community, or we will witness tensions and a further growth of xenophobic movements. SHARE brought together cities, towns, communities, churches and migrant associations to promote and coordinate a real response to the needs of integration.  I am proud of it.”

Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for Migration and President of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

ICMC published its report “Building a Resettlement Network of European Cities and Regions- Experiences of the SHARE Network 2012-2015”, being the culmination of 4 years of the SHARE Network learning.

Since 2012, the SHARE project has built a European resettlement network of regions, cities and their civil society partners with the objectives of 1) promoting refugee protection and resettlement and a culture of welcome and 2) improving planning and coordination for refugee reception and integration in Europe.

SHARE has expanded the EU Resettlement Network (ERN), engaging over 1,200 regional and local contacts already active in resettlement, contemplating resettlement projects or planning advocacy for resettlement in their respective countries. The project spanned Europe, engaging stakeholders in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and the United Kingdom. SHARE has sought to develop a network of actors to share best practices in resettlement between experienced actors and actors in emerging resettlement countries or countries considering resettlement, facilitate refugee integration locally, exchange information and learning in a formalized fashion, advocate for resettlement and share creative and contextualized local resettlement solutions.

With continued loss of life in attempts to cross the Mediterranean, developing adequate channels for the orderly admission of refugees to Europe must be at the core of strategies to address asylum and migration challenges in the European Union. Resettlement is a significant tool in this respect and the SHARE project sought to promote resettlement and improve resettlement outcomes.

Resettlement allows for ahead planning and coordination leading to better reception and integration of refugees. SHARE learning suggests that all countries can develop successful resettlement programmes when properly planned and coordinated among stakeholders and that a European-wide response, involving all countries and regions and municipalities (from large cities to small villages), is essential. 

The SHARE  network position is that the same kind of planning and integration services as are applied in resettlement should be applied in cases of  relocation or any other mechanism to distribute refugees across countries or territories.

A number of key policy recommendations emerged from the SHARE project that have the potential to improve and strengthen resettlement, relocation and refugee reception and integration in Europe which include 1) Non-discrimination among refugees of the same country in granting of status and service provision; 2)  Recognizing the need to strengthen reception and integration services in those regions and municipalities receiving larger number or specific (vulnerable) profiles of refugee; 3) The need for increased attention to refugee placement decisions in a manner sensitive to refugees’ special needs and potential, particularly with respect to integration into the labor market; 4) Strengthening multi-stakeholder cooperation between regions, municipalities and civil society in providing reception, welcome and integration services; 5) Including regional and local actors in financial decision-making (AMIF) and programming; 6) Promoting grassroots initiatives and volunteerism in providing welcome and integration services; 7) Prioritizing the use of Personalized Integration Programs (PIPs) and including employment as an important benchmark in such integration plans.

We hope that this summary of policy reflections, tools and resources and recommendations produced by the SHARE network will support and offer guidance to regional and local actors implementing reception programmes in Europe and be a useful policy tool for a broad range of actors working in the field of asylum and migration in Europe.

Preparing for Syrian Resettlement webinar

The number of Syrian refugee admissions will be steadily increasing in the coming year. This webinar, lead by Liyam Eloul, will help your agency become better prepared to serve the particular needs of this population. Topics covered include:
- Background and demographics of Syrian refugees;
- Syrian refugee expectations;
- Potential challenges for Syrian resettlement in the U.S.;
- How to prepare your staff and communities for Syrian resettlement; and
- Who might be helpful partners.

Liyam Eloul is a trauma therapist with a specialization in complex emergencies and urban refugees in the MENA region. Liyam received her postgraduate diploma from the American University in Cairo on Psychosocial Interventions for Refugees and Forced Migrants, and her Master's Degree in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked with refugees both prior to and following resettlement in the United States. Liyam has worked largely internationally with INGOs over the past decade, including in Egypt, Syria, Oman, Ghana, and Jordan, and has published on the impact of culture on the experience of psychosocial distress, as well as program development. In Syria she worked with UNHCR Damascus, piloting a psychosocial program for the organization as the monitoring and evaluation focal point. Liyam is currently a psychotherapist trainer and clinical supervisor with the Center for Victims of Torture in Amman, Jordan.

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Congolese Refugees in the United States

This 33-minute video includes interviews with refugees and community leaders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and refugee service providers, speaking about the resettlement experiences of newly-arrived and previously resettled refugees from the DRC. Topics addressed include employment opportunities, experience learning English in the United States, education for children and adults, inter-ethnic co-existence, family adjustment, emotional health, and other matters that affect the refugees’ daily lives. 

Mind-Spring

Mind-Spring’s overall aim is to improve the mental health along with the social, economical and cultural integration of asylum seekers and refugees. It is an intervention programme in which trained asylum seekers and refugees volunteer to give psycho-social support and education to groups of fellow asylum seekers and refugees. Psycho-education and parenting support is provided in refugees' own language, taking into account their culture and customs. The trained asylum seeker or refugee works in partnership with and is coached by a Municipal Health Services professional.

'Gun ons de tijd...' Werkboek psychosociale begeleiding bij hervestigde vluchtelingen / 'Grant us time...'. Manual psychosocial support to resettled refugees

Since 2010 resettled refugees are placed immediately after arrival in the Netherlands in their new hometown. It is usually the responsibility of the local counsellors of Dutch Council for Refugees to take care of resettled refugees and guide them as they arrive in their municipality. This manual is intended to help the counsellors when faced with psychosocial problems of (resettled) refugees. It concerns both psychological problems and social problems caused by them.

If you as a (voluntary) counsellor encountering such a situation, what can you do with it? What could be done by yourself and when to turn to others? And how exactly can you deal with such issues or monitor referrals? Read this practical guide and find answers to many questions that you may have - or at some point may be confronted with.

This workbook was developed in consultation with counsellors of DCR and their managers. Discussions with them identified the medical and behavioural problems they encounter and also clarified the way they use to deal with these situations. We also looked for experiences abroad with resettled refugees and the methods and tools that are proven effective in tackling such psychosocial problems among (resettled) refugees. The content of the manual proceeds from general information, through examples of practical situations, to concrete and practical tools that can be helpful in order to have good contact with the refugees themselves and with local caretakers and service providers. After outlining the new care model (Chapter 1), in Chapter 2 the concept of vulnerability as well as the scope of 'burdensome' and 'protective' factors which affect resettled refugees are discussed. Chapter 3 discusses in a structured way what a counsellor can do, i.e. how to deal with the complaints and problems of refugees. As such the first steps preferably have to be taken already before the arrival of a resettled refugee. In chapter 4, four cases (situations) are presented in a fixed format. It discusses topics such as physical and psychological symptoms, refugees with disabilities and high expectations parenting problems but also the avoidance of care (non compliance) and organizing cooperation in healthcare. Each of the cases ends with some lessons learned. The workbook concludes with a number of attachments. Some of these include tools that help counsellors to create fruitful contact with caregivers and resettled refugees as well. Good contact with a resettled refugee at the beginning of his stay in the new 'homeland' makes it more bearable. For a fresh start in a new country is not easy for anyone. But with support, guidance and good luck the resettled refugees and their children can regain their balance over time. They might even feel at home after some time!

Responding to Trauma - Handbook based on experiences of Afghan refugee women living in Finland

As more traumatized refugees are coming to settle in Finland, it would be beneficial for social and health workers to understand basic trauma theories, symptoms and reactions and support methods. It is for this purpose that the following thesis booklet was written, regarding responding to trauma, based on experiences from Afghan women. While there are few books written on this topic, it is helpful to have a compact handbook, with precise information, for students and workers to refer to, regarding this subject. Research for this thesis booklet included both qualitative and quantitative methods, with more emphasis on qualitative. There was a considerable amount of research on trauma, Afghanistan, refugees, crisis counseling and mental health. Theories were explored regarding effects of trauma and studies were examined in correlation with post traumatic stress disorder clients. Six interviews were conducted with refugees from Afghanistan now living in Finland and five interviews with Finnish professionals working with traumatized refugees from different countries. From the research and interviews, it is the author’s conclusion that there is a real problem with the amount of trauma many refugees have experienced and the need for healing so that a full and satisfying life in Finland can be realized. Not all refugees will need professional therapy but it is helpful for social and health workers to understand the symptoms and be able to guide the refugee to appropriate channels of support. In conclusion, from the materials gained in this research, there are plans to form and teach a short seminar on trauma for students and professionals in Finland. Also, there is a possibility of setting up a partnership program for students and refugees, initially in Tampere, and then perhaps to other Universities in Finland.

Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive guide to resettlement

 

This publication is an outcome of the joint IOM, UNHCR and ICMC project ‘Linking In EU resettlement – Linking the resettlement phases and connecting (local) resettlement practitioners’, co-funded by the European Commission via the European Refugee Fund.

This new edition of Welcome to Europe covers all aspects of global resettlement needs, processes, policy and partnerships, focusing on the ongoing growth and development of resettlement in Europe, as follows:

Chapter 1 – Resettlement and international protection

Chapter 2 – Global resettlement

Chapter 3 – Refugee situations in focus

Chapter 4 – The resettlement process: from identification to departure

Chapter 5 – Resettlement in Europe – rising slowly but surely

Chapter 7 – European resettlement programmes

Chapter 8 – Building a new life in the community: approaches to reception and integration in Europe

‘Welcome to Europe!’ underscores the life-saving role of resettlement, and contributes to the promotion of resettlement in Europe as one component of a comprehensive and durable approach to protecting refugees. To submit your contributions and reflections on the publication, please contact Sophie Ngo-Diep at communications.europe@icmc.net or start a discussion in the Community of Practice.

The World at Our Doorstep

The Onondaga Citizens League published its first study report in 1979, the same year that the first refugees from Vietnam were resettled in Syracuse. It is somehow fitting then, that as OCL celebrates the 35th anniversary of its founding, we release our latest report, The World at Our Doorstep, which explores – and celebrates – our community’s continuing commitment to welcoming and resettling refugees from all over the world.

This year’s study on refugee resettlement grew out of an awareness that while Syracuse has a long history of welcoming new populations, the increasing numbers of refugees resettled here in recent years have brought concerns about the community’s ability to absorb these new residents and help them adjust. Many recent refugees come from areas of the world where they suffered years of civil strife, warfare and deprivation. They arrive with fewer resources and higher needs than past refugees. The Citizens League study sought to determine what might be done to strengthen the existing human services system that helps refugees thrive and become part of our community.

Nutrition Surveillance Report

This report presents child growth and malnutrition status of refugee children examined by the IOM Health Assessment Programme at seven key locations around the world namely Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand. The report analyses prevalence of two key indicators for protein–energy malnutrition namely weight-for-height or wasting and height-for-age or stunting. Data for this analysis is generated from the IOM data management software called Migrant Management Operational System Application (MiMOSA) using routinely collected information on age, gender, height (or length) and weight for refugee children aged 6–59 months. The public health importance or severity of malnutrition among refugee children in each country is assessed using internationally standardized criteria recommended by WHO.  The IOM Health Assessment Programme plans for regular production and dissemination of this publication for better refugee health monitoring and to inform design of essential nutrition interventions for vulnerable refugee children.

The Natural Growth Project - Freedom From Torture (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture)

Freedom from Torture provides survivors of torture and their families with medical and social care, practical assistance and psychological and physical therapies. The organisation also provides documentation of torture through medico-legal reports, seeks to influence the public and decision makers to ensure the rights of survivors are upheld and conducts multidisciplinary training and capacity building work for organisations working with survivors of torture around the world.