Integration is a process that enables a newcomer to achieve an “equal footing with the native population in terms of functioning in society,” … “particularly through meaningful socioeconomic inclusion.” (Jacobs and Rea 2007)
Integration, not assimilation.
Assimilation demands the abandonment of home customs, language, and heritage to protect the native community from any discomfort stemming from obvious differences than their norm.
Most often, the process of integrating takes years and is complex in nature. From learning the language and customs, to establishing home and livelihood, the most successful integration is a two-way street requiring “adaptation on the part of the newcomer but also by the host society. Favell 2001).
Humane integration results in “self-actualization” and as a longer-term result, economies and communities made stronger by diversity.
STORIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Stories have the power to leave a lasting imprint on the human heart and mind. Refugee stories can open doors for greater understanding and more meaningful conversations that lead to newcomers becoming pillars of stronger communities. To successfully integrate, refugees must recover, establish a level of security, develop bonds of friendship and belonging, feel a sense of achievement over time, and self-actualize as problem solvers in their communities. Our stories are the unique fibers we all weave into one vibrant and strong fabric of community.
Reunification with family, shelter, food, and clothing are the first signs of welcome and peace to refugees who want to heal and move forward in their journey of integration.
Helping refugees find a way to provide for their families is more than an investment in jobs and economic growth, it is an investment in peace and future generations.
Each newcomer longs to become a contributing member of the community and to feel accepted. Friendship and connection comes from starting a conversation or listening to a story. Developing trusted relationships comes from inviting newcomers to participate in everyday activities that promote friendship.
Positive and engaging reception breaks barriers and provides opportunity for self-determination and recovery of dignity and respect. Newcomers who recognize their contributions and feel the freedom to maintain jewels of their culture, can weave strong bonds within their new communities.
When newcomers fulfill their potential, they accept themselves and others with the ability to focus on problem-solving with an objective perspective. They are highly creative and proud of their heritage and culture, and their experience helps them better appreciate relationships. They get involved and contribute because of their concern for humanity, coupled with strong moral and ethical standards.
These 11 countries represent 97% of refugees generated
Standard Bearer Communities
TSOS shows how different communities successfully navigate refugee integration with policies and practices that build stronger neighborhoods and boroughs. The stories of these neighborhoods illustrate inspirational movements of collective welcome and support. Communities redefine themselves through their success in resettlement - seeing the strength of a strong social webwork of local citizens and refugees connecting with and learning from one another. These stories demonstrate that an investment in new neighbors is an investment in our own vitality.
Through a successful model of building welcoming communities, Fairfax County, Virginia brings community-based organizations together to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
TSOS Community Programs provide opportunities to participate in local refugee integration through:
Collaborating with already established refugee service organizations that provide service-learning opportunities, cultural awareness events, and local refugee mentorship that create long-term friendships with local “newcomers.”
Offering free access to primary and secondary curriculum to better connect academic learning the causes and effects of a global crisis where millions of people are forcibly displaced each year.
Creating opportunities for local college and university campuses to participate in internships pairing refugees with non-refugees for training in writing, video, archive, and podcast storytelling.
Participating in developing positive community changes that eliminate prejudice and promote welcoming “newcomers” and strengthen communities.
STORY GATHERING/STORY TELLING
Connecting with refugees through local refugee events, promoting refugee organizations, refugee artists, and refugee heroes in an effort to establish good will and recognition of the positive aspects of “newcomers,”
Supporting educational initiatives, story gathering and sharing, and service learning opportunities with the locals and partners through school assemblies, and planned events..
To participate in the Community programs please join our next event in your community.
We welcome anyone wanting to join with our hands on the ground, and encourage you to visit the page for the Community program near you.