Just like everyone else
Refugee youth want the same things all young people want: to be seen, to be consulted, to be heard. They want to be educated, employed, and included.
Right now, there are 21.3 million refugees in the world, and more than half are under the age of 18. We at Mentor have an important role to play in mitigating this crisis. We believe that a mentor has the power to help and inspire a young person to look to the future with optimism.
Support young refugees
For newly arrived refugees, it can take a long time to integrate into a new country – until then, they need someone they can trust. This is one of many reasons why mentoring is so important.
A mentor can help young refugees:
- improve their well-being
- improve their self-confidence, communication skills, and motivation
- strengthen their self-esteem
- support their continued education
- potentially reduce involvement with criminality and/or extremism
The Global Refugee Youth Consultation Report
The UNHCR and Women’s Refugee Commission completed a Global Refugee Youth Consultation report in September 2016. Nearly 1,300 refugee youth participated to voice what they believe are their greatest challenges and the core actions governments, NGOs, and other organizations need to take to improve the situation for refugee youth around the world.
The report emphasizes the importance of both engaging with refugee youth and raising awareness of the difficulties they face every day. The report is a must-read for knowing how we can all take action and work with, and for, refugee youth.
From ten challenges to seven core actions
During the consultations, young refugees analyzed the causes of, and solutions to, the obstacles they face in assimilating to a new country. They identified ten challenges and seven core actions to address those challenges. One of the more interesting outcomes of the study was that despite originating from, and currently living in, different countries, they all recommended similar actions:
- Empower refugee youth through meaningful engagement
- Ensure refugee youth-focused protection
- Facilitate refugee youth networking and information sharing
- Generate data on refugee youth to promote accountability to youth
- Recognize, utilize and develop refugee youth capacities and skills
- Support refugee youth physical and emotional wellbeing
- Reinforce refugee youth as connectors and peace builders
The Global Refugee Youth Consultation report demonstrates the energy, creativity, and leadership skills of young people. They have told us what they want and what they need. It’s our turn to do something for them. Be a part of positive change.
Mentor International is a global not-for-profit organization working to empower young people and prevent drug abuse. We are a Swiss registered charity established in 1994 by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in collaboration with the World Health Organization.