A project for social inclusion

As a recent publication of European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights underline 17 years after adoption of EU laws that forbid discrimination, about 40% from immigrants, descendants of immigrants and minority ethnic groups continue to face widespread discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life (because of their ethnic or immigrant background, as well as potentially related characteristics, such as skin color and religion) most often when seeking employment. The percent is almost double among over 35 years old adults with low skills (particularly communication in adoption country’s language) and low qualification. All respondents from this category experienced at least one discriminating situation when they looked for a job or tried to improve their education/qualification and most of them gave up after 4-5 tentative. The same study underlines some dramatic effects of discrimination experiences on the subjects, that lead to an increased social exclusion: – decreased trust in public institutions and legal system – lack of participation in lifelong education/VET – decreased self-esteem and sense of belonging – that leads, sometimes, to unsocial behaviour (alcohol/drugs abuse, violence or other law-breaking)

On the other hand, over the past three decades, social scientists have found that minority individuals suffer from mental and physical health disparities compared to their peers in majority groups . Many studies proven that members of groups stigmatized by mainstream society are more vulnerable to psychological distress. This type of issue can occur due to internalizing stigmatization along with having poor social support and in some cases low socioeconomic status. More commonly people experience minority stress in response to being treated with discrimination and prejudice. The concept behind the issues that minorities experience is known as minority stress theory and it emphasizes that the frequently difficult social interactions that occur in these groups can have a serious impact on an individual’s health.

Ethnic minorities typically have worse health overall than the white population because they are exposed to chronic stress related to factors including discrimination, education, neighborhood, lower quality care or lack of access to care, and economic disadvantage. The effects are not visible immediately but generally lead to mental but also physical disorders (like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes etc.) At the crossroad of these political and psychological approaches our whole project is built around on the importance of autobiography in education and self-development. According to Duccio Demetrio (the founder of autobiographical method in Italy) adults’ education finds, in the autobiographical practice, a new method of approaching particularly individuals from different vulnerable groups (not only migrants/minorities but also disabled, victims of violence, addicted etc.) in a learning process that place at the centre the subjects themselves in their problematic nature; a training method that encourages people in unveiling their own stories and supports them in making life a permanent search for meaning, getting used to live the future. Creating and testing (on 10 different groups of low low-skilled/qualified adults from migrants/minorities groups) a complex and flexible set of tools based on this method – with a big multiplying potential (as we will show in next paragraphs) is the main way our project fits with the sectoral priority Extending and developing educators’ competences. Having more adult educators with a better expertise and more complex qualification in working with low skilled/qualified adult learners leads by default to the second sectoral priority Improving and extending (…) Moreover, all our activities and intellectual outcomes will serve to this aim, as they are designated to support low skilled/qualified adults in improving their self-development, increasing their self-esteem and become more active in social life, the next step being an improved participation in lifelong learning education and an improved status on labor market and implicit leading to a better social inclusion – horizontal priority.

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