The “From Youth Centers to Intercultural Centers” project intends to implement innovation in the context of Youth Work, starting from four countries: Italy, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia.
In the growing multicultural composition of Europe, in recent years the question of the influx of thousands of asylum seekers is problematic, which in the Mediterranean countries and in the East-European countries often becomes an emergency. The four partner organizations operate in local communities where autochthonous young people coexist with immigrant peers, including asylum seekers and refugees. This situation, which increasingly characterizes local communities in the EU, requires the evolution of the classic Youth Centers in Intercultural Centers.
Therefore, starting from the partners’ experiences, the project aims to propose an innovation of method and practices, which can curve the different activities of the Youth Centers in an intercultural sense: from recreational-aggregative laboratories, to public events, to local volunteering, to sports activities. The intention is to contribute to improving work in the youth field, by creating a tool, the Toolkit, which can be adopted by the youth workers of the partners, of their national and European networks, and then extended to the European Union, progressively building a European Network of Intercultural Centers.
With this path, we intend to concretely facilitate the social inclusion of young people, paying attention to young people with fewer opportunities because they are refugees or due to cultural differences. At the same time, this characterization of activities in the youth sector carried out in local contexts allows the empowerment of young people, more prepared to face the challenges and opportunities of a multicultural context. Past experiences in different countries reflect differences in different socio-cultural contexts, different profiles of immigration and different impacts of the influx of asylum seekers. Likewise, the experiments that will be conducted to validate the Toolkit will have to be compared with the diversity of national contexts. In this way, the model developed and proposed at EU level will have the flexibility and the necessary tools to adapt to the various contexts and to the developments within the individual contexts. For this reason the project needs a transnational breadth and its follow up is planned right now to expand the countries of application and dissemination.