What kind of studies are there available regarding migrant parents education?
Project “Creating Educational Services For Migrant Parents” project nr 2012-1-LT1-GRU06-071348 (Grundtvig learning partnership project 2012–2014) “Self-study Handbook for Migrant Parents” http://www.scholaempirica.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Migrant-Parents_handbook-withcover_EN.pdf
The handbook covers the most important aspects of separation in the family life – social and cultural issues of migration, communication, psychological support, interactions which may be crucial for the parents, children or grandparents who must cope with this problem on everyday basis.
- Many people believe that “being a good parent” over a distance depends on the child’s age – the older the child, the easier it is to maintain in-depth relationships over the phone or an instant messenger, and the emigration period – the shorter the trips and the more frequent visits home, the better.
- Women and men choose different strategies of maintaining relationships. “Thus, it is possible to be a mother or a father over a distance, which is called transnational (international) motherhood/fatherhood. Migrant mothers use the so-called non-residential mothers’ strategies, for example, they read their children bed-time stories over the phone and they help them with their homework via Skype (and they control all school results in the virtual register – the author’s example). Whereas during short visits in the country, between emigration periods, they practice intense motherhood, which means that they try to take care of their children twice as much, following them everywhere they go.”
- Many parents find it difficult to communicate with their children when they are apart.
- The study includes tips for Managing and Resolving Conflicts.
- Practical Strategies How to Arrange Long-distance Communication in the Family; however, nowadays these strategies can be updated with the latest technological and communication tools. It also looks at different ways to communicate with children in different age groups.
- Practical Strategies How to Keep Emotional Contact with the Child
- ICT for communication
Migration, distress and cultural identity, Dinesh Bhugra, Section of Cultural Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
The material above is one of the references mentioned in the first handbook. It does not speak exclusively about the migrant parents; however it shows greatly how migration causes a mental distress, which then, inevitably, affects the relationship with ones family, relatives – people around them or those who have left behind.
PERSONAL STORIES OF MIGRANT PARENTS
COLLECTED FOR THE PROJECT “CREATING EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR MIGRANT PARENTS” http://www.scholaempirica.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Grundtvig-story_book_en.pdf
The themes of qualitative study have focused on five main issues: pre-history of leaving, hardships faced after separation, changes occurred in family relations, communication with children after emigration and support received, and future aspirations.
Are there any policies in your country covering the topic of parental education for migrant parents?
The situation in Cyprus is not developed at all in this topic. Cyprus is still at the stage to develop and implement proper Migrant integration strategies and only recently the topic of unaccompanied minors has been activated. The information and links below show the weaknesses of the existing strategies. For example, according to the Migrant integration Policy Index, the Family reunification is quite difficult in Cyprus. “Separated families are excluded, deterred, or rejected under Cyprus’ family reunification policy. Long residence requirements, restrictions for dependent relatives, demanding economic requirements and an insecure process and status make Cyprus’s policies among the most restrictive amongst MIPEX countries.”
MIGRANT INTEGRATION POLICY INDEX: https://www.mipex.eu/cyprus
Changes in policy in Cyprus
Over the past five years, non-EU immigrants benefited from small improvements in integration policies in Cyprus and in most MIPEX countries. Cyprus, like the average MIPEX country, increased its MIPEX score by +2 points from 2014 to 2019. Cyprus is starting to address the major areas of weakness in its integration policy, by providing basic rights and opportunities in the education, health and political system. Schools receive basic guidance on how to support immigrant pupils. The conditions to access healthcare are slightly clearer for legal immigrants. Immigrant leaders are consulted ad hoc on integration issues. These improvements concerned some of the most unfavourable policy areas in Cyprus. These changes aimed at improving access to education (e.g., through the publication of general guide on educational opportunities for migrants), political participation (ad-hoc consultation once per year on integration) and health (for legal migrants). However, policies in these areas still have a long way to go to address the major obstacles faced by immigrants in Cyprus.
Positive changes on MIPEX indicators:
- Educational guidance at all level
- Strength of national consultive body
- Healthcare conditions for legal migrants
Non-EU immigrants are denied many basic rights and opportunities and face some uncertainty about their long-term future in Cyprus. They face significant obstacles to participate in many areas of life, from the labour market to family life, education, health, and politics. Cyprus still needs to invest in basic rights, equal opportunities and long-term security, which are below average when compared to most MIPEX countries. In contrast, other new destination countries are following international reform trends and making these improvements (e.g. Czechia and Greece). Cyprus’s integration policies are below average for the EU, although its policies are generally like other Central and Southeastern European countries. In contrast, integration policies are more developed in Greece and in the other countries in the Mediterranean Sea.
There is no consultative body on migrant integration in Cyprus. However, NGOS take part in the Monitoring Committee of the AMIF National Programme 2014-2020 which is periodically revised to face the latest migration and integration challenges. The Committee meets at least once a year, also to monitor the progress of the National Programme.
Otherwise, civil society organisations in Cyprus mainly offer legal and social support, provide integration services, conduct research and raise awareness on issues affecting migrants and refugees. Several informal volunteer groups have also established recently to support refugees and asylum seekers in finding employment and recreational activities.
NATIONAL PLAN ΟΝ THE INTEGRATION OF MIGRANTS is being developed as an AMIF funded project. http://tcnintegration.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/EthnikoShedioEN.pdf
It concerns the drafting, monitoring and evaluation of an integrated plan, with suggestions and measures aimed at facilitating the integration of migrants – Third Country Nationals (TCN) in Cypriot society; however, it is focusing on a successful migrant integration and not particularly on migrant parents, migrant families etc.
The National Plan is the result of research and consultation with stakeholders, public services and civil society organizations dealing with migration issues. It is being prepared for the Civil Registry and Migration department, as the competent body of the Department of the Ministry of Interior that monitors and approves the various stages of the preparation of the National Plan.
Cypriot integration projects include, language course, civic education, vocational training
Are there any organizations in your country working for/with migrant parents?
There are no organisation working exclusively for/ with migrant parents in Cyprus, even though, there are many migrants in Cyprus who have arrived alone here without their families and children. There are few organisations working with/ for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in general. Part of the organisations are focusing on the migrant integration and are safeguarding the rights of the migrants. Other organisations are providing language courses, civic education, vocational training as part of transnational or local projects, as well as address the needs of those who are working directly with migrant communities (adult educators, youth workers, social workers, volunteers etc). These projects have been implemented either by attracting EU funding, or national funds.
Some of the organisations addressing the needs of migrants, migrant families and others are the following:
CODECA (https://www.codecacy.org/ ) is a non-profitable organisation established and operating in Cyprus since 2016. The aim of the organisation is to foster and promote social cohesion, development, and care. Among others, main operational objectives include:
- Provision of Social Care services at individual level, family, group and community.
- Providing services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, education and orientation of children and families, as well as other socially excluded groups.
KISA’s action is focused on the fields of Migration, Asylum, Racism, Discrimination and Trafficking, and it includes awareness-raising of the Cypriot society as well as lobbying in order to influence the legal and structural framework, the policies and practices in these fields. KISA operates a Migrant and Refugee Centre that provides free information, support, advocacy and mediation services to migrants, refugees, victims of trafficking and racism / discrimination and ethnic minorities in general, as well as promotion of the integration, empowerment and self-organisation of migrants and refugees. The combination of activities of social intervention and the operation of services as well as the strong ties with the migrant and refugee communities enable KISA to have a very accurate and updated picture about the realities in the areas of its mandate.
CARITAS CYPRUS | Migrant Centres: In Nicosia and Larnaca, Caritas Cyprus’ Migrant Centres are open weekdays to provide a place for migrants to socialize with others, to access legal, healthcare, and psycho-social support, to learn languages and, if necessary, to access food, clothing and other humanitarian services
The Learning Refuge: In Pafos, the Learning Refuge offers a safe place for families, mainly women, and children, to meet for friendship rest, where children can play. It is also a place that provides language training to adults and children as well as other activities including gardening and art.
Shelter: In Nicosia, Caritas Cyprus’ Migrant Shelters provide temporary emergency accommodation to migrant men and migrant women with children. The Men’s Shelter accommodates up to 12 men and the Women’s Shelter accommodates up to nine women and four children depending on the composition of the family.
THE CYPRUS REFUGEE COUNCIL (CyRC) strives to safeguard, support and advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups in Cyprus, promoting their effective integration into the host society. Focusing on refugees, asylum seekers, detainees, trafficking victims and survivors of torture, CyRC works closely with the local society in order to provide quality services at the individual, community and policy level. https://cyrefugeecouncil.org/our-story/
miHUB (https://mihub.eu/en/about) works with individuals, families and community groups to identify their needs and provide information on a range of options available to them. We support them to access services and resources that meet their needs and build new skills to adjust harmonically to the Cypriot cultural and social environment. The Migrant Information Centre (MIC) has developed services based on our core values of listening, empathy, understanding and supporting individual vulnerable migrants. Our four offices employ highly trained personnel ready to respond in a variety of requests. Supported by the University of Nicosia who also implements various integration programmes.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION ( https://cyprus.iom.int/our-programmes) IOM Cyprus operate a series of programmes as an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management. Working closely with the Republic of Cyprus, Embassies, International Organisations, NGOs and other bodies, IOM Cyprus offers its expertise on migration to assist authorities in the implementation of migration policies.
Has your organization conducted any parental education activity?
SYNTHESIS Center for Research and Education has implemented few projects for parents and several projects for migrant communities and those who are working directly with / for these communities.
Project MUMS AT WORK (Funded by the AMIF programme between 2021 – 2023)
The general objective of this project is to promote social and economic integration among groups of migrant mothers (aged 25-45) by developing tailor-made coaching, counselling, and training paths for a better employability in the job market.
COMEET+ : Community Entrepreneurship Education
COMEET+ is an Erasmus Plus KA2 project aiming at promoting a holistic approach to entrepreneurship education based on the idea that community actors (parents, teachers, youth educators, people working in associations active at community level) have a responsibility when it comes to shape young people mindset.
WELCOME project (http://welcomm-project.com/welcomm1/the-project/ )
This project aimed: To provide opportunities for equal start in education for migrant children in pre-primary and primary school age; To raise awareness of the importance of education for social inclusion among migrant parents; To develop innovative tools for non-formal language learning and thus to improve the capacities of migrant organisations and language educators working with migrants; To develop basic communication skills in host country language.
LANGUAGES FROM THE CRADLE was a project that collected 35 lullabies and activites in Turkish, Danish, Greek, Czech, Italian, English, and Romanian to support parents and enhance language learning from an early age.
THE SOCIAL CAFÉ
The Social Café activities helped integrate different activities targeting migrants by providing a space where they could socialize, meet like minded people, and get more familiar with the local culture. As a part of the Social Café initiative, workshops and other activities are organised on Sundays to promote integration and social inclusion, while also providing participants with a wide array of skills to facilitate their introduction to the local culture, as well as to enhance their skills, knowledge, and employability. The Social Café activities were implemented within the project AMIF funded project “PAND PAS: Pre and Post – Arrival Schemes to facilitate inclusion ad prevent xenophobia and radicalization.”
What are the most important parental education projects implemented in the past 5 years in your country?
- What was the specific area/topic they focused on?
- Did they include the development/use of any technological/digital tools?
- Are their results, outcomes available? Are they quantized?
After going through the materials available on internet and consulting relevant professional, the conclusion is that there have not been implemented any important projects exclusively on parental education. There are many projects in adult education or school education projects to effectively involve parents in their children education, however, those do not focus on parental education and support for parents.
Individuals, however, have developed initiatives and actions themselves, for example a community called “Mums in Cyprus” that aims to connect https://mumsincyprus.com/ – the leading network for families living in Cyprus. According to the data available on their website and information on social media, the community consists of over 4200 members from 27 nationalities. The network also promotes women/ mum entrepreneurship, which is a valuable addition.
Have any parental education projects been implemented in your country that were addressed to migrant adults?
- Who led them?
- What was their purpose?
- Are their results, outcomes available? Are they quantized?
Again, unfortunately, no. As it has been mentioned earlier, firstly, through various innovation and policy development projects Cyprus is still on its way towards proper and well-functioning integration systems. There is a great number of projects addressing migrant adults and their empowerment in general, but not in relation to parent education. As examples, can be mentioned the projects implemented by SYNTHESIS and described above.
What kind of policies and activities are in place in your country aimed to support the educational process and the behavioral development of left behind children?
On the regional and municipal level, local authorities are taking a highly active role in the integration of third country nationals, partly with the support of EU funds. Municipalities offer social support services such as counselling, psychological support, day-care for children 5-12 years as well as information services, seminars and intercultural events.
SYNTHESIS is currently implementing an EU funded project VOLUME: VOLUNTEER FOR UNACCOMPANIED MINORS GET EDUCATED
The VOLUME project aims to provide volunteers, who care about unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the EU, with key, including topics, like reception and housing, education and training, health and wellbeing, family reunification and legal framework. To reach this objective, the project will develop a training platform with training modules for volunteers, accompanied by a curricular handbook for educators who are planning to set up a blended learning course for volunteers in the field.
What are the main organizations (national, international) in your country working for left behind children?
Hope For Children (https://www.uncrcpc.org.cy/)
The “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center is an international humanitarian and independent Institution based in Nicosia, Cyprus. HFC is established on standards and principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and European Union Law. It works on humanitarian and development policy relevant to the defence and promotion of children’s rights. It does so through research, grassroots program design and implementation and advisory services offered to governments and international organizations. The operation of the Institution is founded on the principle of promoting and protecting the rights of children. We aim to do this through the implementation of a variety of projects on a National, European and Global level, but also through the integration of unaccompanied children who reside in the host country. “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center works together with national, regional and an international advocacy institutions to reform child welfare systems on behalf of children who depend on them for protection and care. We aim to bring together judges, lawyers, psychologists, medical practitioners, mediators, counselors, mental health workers, media representatives, child cares, teachers & allied professionals to contribute their specialized expertise in a practical manner through education, legal and other advocacy to promote and protect the interests of the most vulnerable amongst us, our children and youth.
There are no organisations in Cyprus focusing specifically on children left behind.
Have there been implemented in your country any projects addressed to left behind children in the past five years?
- Who initiated them?
- What did they focus on?
- What are their results?
As it has been stated before, only recently Cyprus has started addressing project to integration in general, and now also tackling the issues related to support to unaccompanied minors. There are no specific focus on children who have been left behind due to migration of their parents.
For example, the programme, “New Channels for Integration” (http://localintegration.eu/en/programme/intro/) implemented as a collaborative project by Nicosia Municipality, as the Coordinator, and its partners Engomi Municipality, Nicosia Municipal Multifunctional Foundation and the consultants «NVK Advent Consulting» and “Losadeal Ltd“ are aiming to develop and provide the following services and actions:
- Social care and psycho-social support services for adults and children
- Seminars offering training, education, empowerment and orientation
- Opportunities for intercultural exchange, acquaintance and interaction with the local population
- Cultural identity preservation programmes for children of TCNs
- Workshops for creative expression and acquaintance with culture
- Νetworking and collaboration activities between organised and informal groups of TCNs with Local Authorities and other local organisations.
Can you identify the specific needs of migrant parents and of left behind children based on the researched information?
- How to Cope with Criticism?
- Loneliness and sense of being lost due to long term absence and loss of connections with relatives. Health (physical and mental) consequences of loneliness
- Sense of guilt
- How to sustain the relationship with children and other relatives?
- Legal support for families and parents – before leaving the country and in the country of arrival.
- How to remain effective communication and emotional contact
- Conflict resolution
- The balance between the parental control and the freedoms of a child
- Improved self-confidence and self-realization/ personal development
Left Behind Children:
- The feeling of being important, the feeling of belonging
- Emotional connection with their parents,
- Communication and appreciation
- Being heard
- Spend time with their parents (without the sense of being controlled)
The needs of children vary depending on their age group. More as a threat and not a need is that children left behind more likely tend to become early school leavers, who then require other approach and additional activities.