Parenting in a Multicultural European City. Latefa Narriman Guemar. Centre For Migration Policy Research. Swansea University

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1 Parenting in a Multicultural European City Latefa Narriman Guemar Centre For Migration Policy Research Swansea University 1

2 Parenting in a multicultural European City was a transnational project funded by the European Social Fund as a three year Grundtvig 1 project, which ran from October 2006 until September

3 Razlog, Bulgaria Aarhus, Denmark Neumunster, Germany Patras, Greece Girona, Catalan Spain Udine, Italy Nicosia, Cyprus Nagykovacsi, Hungary Graz, Austria Lugano, Switzerland 3

4 Successful parenting requires policy environments that enable all parents, regardless of their status, income, race or creed, to provide for the health, social, cultural and educational needs of their children. Existing support systems may need changing to reflect the needs of migrant parents, including asylum seekers and refugee s. 4

5 Learning about their rights and obligations as parents living in the UK Learning about their children s rights in the UK Learning how to use information technology to enable the new arrivals to communicate with their families and friends around the world; 5

6 Helping parents to identify available sources of support for parents within Swansea and posting the same information on the Swansea arrivals website; Helping parents to link up with other organisations that work with refugee, asylum seekers and other parents; 6

7 7

8 The event was aimed at pulling together, member of the voluntary sector, RCOs, local authorities, with the experiences of migrant families on a variety of issues affecting their life in Wales. In this vein, we held a: Parenting Café followed by a Parenting Market to explore issues around the following themes: 8

9 Racism Education Social Care Health Care 9

10 Racism Issues experienced and expressed by parent and children: Name calling Swearing at children of asylum seeking and refugee families Lack of understanding from teachers/local children 10

11 Children can t play outside for fear of racist attack Parents and children feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood, feeling of isolation and separation Not able to open a bank account Some tutors have a problem with headscarves 11

12 Cars being broken into Dogs allowed to bite and attack asylum seekers and refugees children who play outside their houses Eggs thrown onto windows at home More trouble experienced in areas high in poverty often where asylum seekers are housed in the first place. 12

13 Teachers and schools are not educating on issues of racism, culture and tolerance of difference. People with racist views are passing them on to their children and they then bully as well. 13

14 Education Issues experienced by children. These views are the children s own: Scary and shy on the first day Sad because I had to leave my old friends It was hard because I was not used to the food I had to make new friends and it was hard to find a good friend 14

15 I had to learn to read and write English It is hard work every day I was scared because I did not have any one to work with and so hard to work on my own. It is hard to learn a language for some people 15

16 Solutions Offered to policy makers by the children: Have someone special to teach me English regularly In the school. Someone to lead me to all the places in the school. Try to look at things in a positive way. 16

17 The teacher should make sure that noone is on their own either in the classroom or in the playground. Have someone to look after you for a month until you feel safer. 17

18 Education - Issues experienced by Adults: Childcare needed and is expensive Too expensive international fees Some study needs International English Language Testing System (IELTS) which is very expensive Establishing equivalence, diploma from other countries not always recognised Finding funding/grants 18

19 Solutions offered to policy makers: A need to achieve qualifications in Britain to: Get a good job once I m able to work,that will enable me to earn more/have a sufficient income Become well integrated into the UK society More confidence 19

20 Children will be encouraged Parents will be in a position to support children s education Racism and conflict will therefore be reduced. Feel happy 20

21 Children s perceptions of their parent s education Issues: My mum might forget to pick me up from school My mum might struggle with the food My mum might leave me at home alone My parents might not care about me because they are too depress 21

22 Solutions proposed by the children : They could get a good job They would know things that they need to know If they get lucky they might even get a passport My mum will get to meet new people 22

23 3.Social Care Parent s views : No child benefits Not allowed to work Just allowed to do basic courses No education allowed after the age of 18. No extra money for disabilities No bus passes to college 23

24 No choice of housing always in the poorest places GP/Doctor language barrier Housing inspection Poor housing facilities No Showers or basic washing facilities 24

25 Proposed solutions : Access to work Access to child benefits, one rule for all Support with English 1.Home office interviews children treated as adults 25

26 Too many questions often without a translator Should be given choice of where to stay Access to education after 18 years of age Bus passes to college Free travel for everyone on low incomes 26

27 Health care, including physical/emotional/mental care, Counselling not available to asylum seekers Recreational activities too expensive Isolation need connection with others from same culture/religion language barriers Dental care very difficult to find dentist 27

28 Solutions offered to policy makers Free or discounted sport and gym would help lift depression of being in Limbo, more ESOL classes Give asylum seekers free counselling on arrival More activities like parenting project/church activities 28

29 Later on after lunch a parenting market was set up after the parenting café where parents voted on all the solutions suggested and tried to sell them to representative from the different agencies who attended the day. The following points are the results of this process: 29

30 Racism: Educational Curriculum within schools should include a program on race, ethnicity and migration issues to assist understanding. Integration within British culture, rules and language of the UK. 30

31 Education Children s issues The teacher should make sure noone is left on their own either within the classroom or out in the playground Have someone allocated to you for a month or more to be your friend until you settle into school 31

32 Education - Adult s issues: Paying home fees for AS to access F&HE Support both with language and with child care to make education possible. More English (ESOL) classes Recognising foreign qualifications 32

33 Social Care: Access to work on arrival Child benefit for all parents whether asylum seeker or not Choice of where to live rather than just being placed in deprived areas which are high in racism/prejudice and violence. 33

34 Health care: Free counselling for asylum seekers on arrival Don t Know how to access to dentists 34

35 The above solutions were perceived by the parents to be the most needed. It is hoped that, RCOs, local authorities and policy makers are willing not just to listen, but to act on these needs with compassion and humanitarian intent thus making the lives of those families more dignified and useful. THANK YOU FOR LISTNING 35