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Form'actif: Future perspectives for young refugees and migrants

Thursday 24 September 2020

Since 2005, Cristina Lopes has been in charge of the Form'actif service of Caritas Luxembourg. Training is one of the pillars of Caritas Luxembourg with regard to the integration of refugees and migrants.

What does the Form'actif service do?

We offer young refugees and migrants a range of support services related to training. We inform them, for example, about the steps to take, training organisations, existing training courses, the job market etc... Together with them, we prepare the documents for registration at a high school or university or for the recognition of their diplomas. We help them to find employers for their apprenticeship. We also support them in other problems that they may encounter in their lives and which often block them in their training. These are often problems with housing, money, papers, etc... We try to help them as much as possible so that they can continue their studies and leave school with a diploma.

We also manage, in collaboration with the Adult Education Service of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, the 5th year integration classes for adults on the Kirchberg site.

What has happened to the "Passerelles" classes?

Two years ago, the "Passerelles" classes were integrated into the national training system as 5th year integration classes for adults. For years, Caritas Luxembourg had fought to ensure that young refugees and migrants who are no longer part of compulsory schooling or who are excluded from the traditional system had the opportunity to train.  Caritas Luxembourg had thus proposed, as a precursor and thanks to the support of the State, numerous donors and volunteers, special classes for hundreds of young refugees and migrants who were thus able to train and then continue their studies through an apprenticeship or even at university. The struggle of Caritas Luxembourg has borne fruit since today these young people, long excluded from the national educational system for a long time, are finally recognized andsupported by the Ministry through the 5th year integration classes for adults. Moreover, demand is constantly increasing. From year to year, we create new classes. For the start of the 2020-2021 school year, there are 10 classes. Caritas Luxembourg continues to bring in its knowledge of refugees and migrants, its experience in the field with young people and its social support.

What do you like about what you do?

First of all there is the fact that it is very varied. Every day is different and you have to constantly adapt to the new needs and demands of young people. There is also the fact that at Caritas Luxembourg we consider the young person in training as a whole, that their concerns about other aspects of their life (housing, finances, family, etc.) are also taken into account. In order to be able to concentrate on his or her training, the young refugee must have a free mind, feel safe and supported. I also like the importance that Caritas Luxembourg attaches to training. Providing access to education means giving refugees and migrants the opportunity to play an active role in society and thus avoid social exclusion. Finally, I like the chain of solidarity that Caritas Luxembourg is able to mobilise when a young person is in difficulty. Everything is done so that the young person can continue school and have prospects for the future. I wouldn't change jobs for anything in the world.

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