According to The UN Refugee Agency, 70.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes, resulting in 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under 18. The high number of youth population among refugees bring to the host countries specific challenges in educational and labor market area.
Entering 2020, one of the main challenges posed in Amsterdam is enabling the integration of refugees into employment and providing support for them in finding work. The main barriers for an effective economic integration include the length of time taken to obtain the residency permit needed to work – a process which can take years -, health problems, since most of refugees have experienced violent and traumatic events in their country of origin and lack of “Social Capital”, which include contact with the local population, professional network and an understanding of Dutch company culture. Among our projects for 2020, Road of Hope aspires to help refugees by continuing the regular Dutch classes and providing an additional course aimed at preparing refugees for the Staatsexamen NT2, enabling their Dutch language skills to have official government recognition and opening doors to many more opportunities.
Since 2016, Road of Hope has embarked on many successful projects, helping to bridge the gap between refugees and their host society. The main initiative undertaken in 2019 was ‘Breath of Hope’, a project focused on providing therapeutic and emotional support to women. This was accomplished through various methods including personal home visits, reflection groups and workshops encouraging discussion, communal values and the sharing of skills and culture. In turn, this support enabled them to overcome emotional barriers to their integration into Dutch society, allowing them to build new relationships. Watch this brief impression video about Breath of Hope:
Encouraged by the success of our Breath of Hope project, we continue to run through 2020 and we bring “Labour Market Integration”. Mention it here as a challenge! This new initiative will also provide refugees with the necessary tools to become part of the Dutch labor market, integrating them into work and empowering them to reach their full work potential. As with all our projects, we carry an emotional focus, working on personal barriers that have previously prevented these people from successful participation in employment.