Brief description of the organization
Itaka Training is an organization based in Southern Italy a few kilometres away from the “Gods coast” famous for its breath-taking beach and seaside.
The organization is dedicated to professional training, EU project management, work experience and training for all ages, English and Italian language courses.
The team organizes professional development courses funded by KA1 under the Erasmus+ programme, for people involved in education who want to acquire new competences.
Courses include digital classrooms, Integration and Social Inclusion in the classroom, school management, Teaching through Arts activities, etc.
Problem addressed by the good practice
The problem areas are mental health, inclusion, intercultural competencies.
The target group are young people between 18 and 35 years old.
Summary of the good practice
Youth Together for Refugees is an Erasmus+ funded project designed by a consortium of 4 partners: Itaka training from Italy (the project coordinator), Andalucia Acoge from Spain, Kairos Europe from the UK, KANE from Greece. Partners are actively involved in the reception, education and advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees, particularly to the very young ones. The project lasted 2 years from May 2018 to May 2020
In Europe, services related to the care of young refugees are often possible thanks to the large numbers of youth workers and volunteers who decide to dedicate their time and energies to a just cause, improving the level of integration and wellbeing of the target group they are working with.
However, young volunteers often do not possess the right training to work with vulnerable individuals such as young refugees; and often operate in contexts where budget and structures are at low levels.
Indeed, this project was born from analysis regarding the conditions of youth workers and young refugees within the reception, accommodation and recreational centers. The partners define these places as “high-pressure environments” according to common aspects: crowded; highly diverse users for age, nationality, gender, social origin and education; insufficient or untrained staff; insufficient economic and material conditions.
Youth workers are crucial actors in promoting socialization and inclusion, to develop inter-subjective skills for the refugees’ future life as European citizens. Thanks to their age, energies and enthusiasm, they are often able to build trust relationships and become role models for young refugees like no other.
However, youth workers themselves pointed out the lack of adequate timing, sufficient budget and the need for training focusing both on the individual worker and around their target group. With this project, the partners want to answer these needs since they believe that to bridge these gaps is not only possible but also right.
This project aims to collect best practices from all of the partners’ countries to reach as more youth workers as possible and provide them with the right tools to address their daily work-life, to acquire new skills fostering their success and future achievements; promoting multidisciplinary approaches and empowerment for a positive social change, in line with the European values of democracy and active citizenship
The activities are:
- Provide training material through a toolkit, available in open source modality, to gather information about the most relevant topics regarding refugees and their assistance, such as trauma and wellbeing, work in diversity, interlanguage, interfaith and more
- Provide examples of practical activities that volunteers can use in high-pressure contexts within low budget and unstructured locations, such as refugee camps, cultural or recreational centers and similar
- Organize one transnational training for a group of selected young volunteers that would follow presentations on the topics contained in the toolkit, testing and putting in practice also the very activities that we will propose
The toolkit has been tested and presented to all relevant stakeholders and interested companies\NGOs, disseminating the project activities and results, for instance, the British red cross, Caritas and several other centers working with young refugees.
The evaluation of the toolkit was carried out on 2 levels: by participants in the local transnational training and by stakeholders reached either via emails or involved in local events.
The toolkit is available in four European languages (Italian, English, Spanish and Greece), for anyone who would like to use it in a country with a different national language from the above ones, it would be good to translate some parts in order to give wider access to its resources.
The Training toolkit A Multidisciplinary Approach: Theory and Practice for Youth Workers Assisting Refugees is available online.