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Month: June 2023

Intercultural Integration in Cyprus: Understanding Employment Rights for Better Inclusion

Evidently, the rising number of arrivals poses a hard to resolve puzzle for Cypriot authorities and stakeholders.

This riddle requires a structured approach: to ensure that the rights of refugees and asylum seekers are safeguarded (on both humanitarian grounds and per the Republic of Cyprus’ legal obligations), while they can effectively integrate and contribute to the society. But if all pieces fit in their place, it offers not just doors for facilitating refugee integration – Cyprus also has many benefits to reap. This entails though, a multifaceted approach that supports refugee inclusion in education, the labour market and society at large, that will enable them to become contributing members of our communities.

This belief comes at the core of Building Structures Integration in Cyprus project, implemented by the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Programme and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Structural Reform Support, in partnership with the Civil Registry and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus. The project has been working in close collaboration with local administrations and community actors across Cyprus to play an integral role in fostering inclusion. To that end, the programme had also delved into the labour market to help both employers and refugees-asylum seekers navigate through the legal framework and particularities of employment.

Teaching how to ‘Catch a Fish’

For more long-term integration, it’s essential to address how the legal and employment frameworks offer opportunities for growth, education and development for the asylum seekers in their new host countries. As the good old proverb goes – “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” For that to happen, migrants and asylum seekers, as well as employers need to know their rights and duties.

To contribute, as part of the Intercultural integration in Cyprus project, CARDET and partners have created a set of handbooks that include important information as to the fields of work refugees are allowed to work in, as well as important guidelines on contracts, working hours, wages, various forms of leave, social welfare benefits, healthcare, and labour relations. The guide and handbooks thus serve as invaluable resources for employers and employees to grasp a full picture of the Republic of Cyprus’ legal framework in regards to refugees’ entrance to the labour market.

Building Structures for Intercultural Integration in Cyprus Project aims to highlight the importance of employment rights as one of the facets for a sustainable path towards a healthy intercultural society. Investment in human capital can help not only boost the economy and help employers address labour shortages but more importantly, help refugees become part of a wider community that’s not defined by the ‘asylum seeker’ status.

The opportunities that lie before us

Intercultural integration in Cyprus presents both challenges and tremendous opportunities. By recognizing the potential benefits of embracing diversity and working together to overcome obstacles, Cyprus can create a society that thrives on the contributions of all its members. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, instead it’s a mere invitation to develop a 360° approach including – language courses, education and vocational training for children and adults, support with cultural and social orientation, support with personal relationships and networking in the new community are some of the main steps that need to be followed for building trust, fostering cohesion and managing diversity. Every facet plays a role.

Learn more about the “Intercultural integration in Cyprus” project partners, activities and objectives here.

Check out the guides:

Making grassroots football a space of inclusion

Embracing a three-year journey, supported by the EU Erasmus+ programme, the UEFA Foundation for Children warmly welcomed the TACKLE conference at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon. The event aimed to champion inclusivity and tackle racism in non-professional football. By specifically focusing on coaches and managers in grassroots football clubs, the project effectively raises awareness, fosters competence, and develops strategies to eradicate racism from the beautiful game. With a comprehensive approach at its core, this inspiring initiative aspires to create a lasting impact on players, grassroots football, and the wider sporting community.

The conference was headlined by Clarence Seedorf, a legend of football, who emphasised the importance of communicating the right messages in and through football by putting inclusion in the spotlight all the time. He stressed that “If we want to make change happen, we need to be a part of that change and we need to be seating on those seats where we can have a voice and where we can share the thoughts of the people, because many times the most important solutions will come exactly from the grassroots…We need to start acting with the solutions and we will make mistakes. Things might work out might not work out, but it’s better to move in a certain direction that we know is far away from where we are today and in the right direction as well.”

He also highlighted the pivotal role coaches play in football and its bid to tackle racism, noting that they “need to make the youth players aware of the values of sports. Sports is the best tool to really guide youth and to develop their brain and to develop their character so if we do all of that properly we will indirectly be tackling the issue. So, if we talk so much about racism, let’s talk about how to be more human, what is friendship, what is teamwork, this is what I learnt when I was younger. These were the things that they were putting on us every single time.”

Following, CARDET’s Executive Director, Dr Charalambos Vrasidas joined the stage to present the rationale and objectives of the work done through the TACKLE Project in its bid to empower football coaches to become active agents in promoting inclusion in football. He noted that the project, implemented in 6 European countries, responded to the increasing calls for action to address the rising numbers of discriminatory incidents in grassroots football.

Furthermore, he elaborated on its focus on coaches noting that “Building capacity of coaches, football managers, youth workers working with youth and at youth clubs is so important as youth and players are heavily impacted and tend to emulate their behaviour and approach.” He also presented the free resources and tools developed by the project, to help coaches and managers of grassroots football clubs to elevate their knowledge and skills in the field. Said tools are available here.

Moreover, the conference featured presentations from Olivier Doglia, UEFA’s Senior Officer in Elite Youth player Development, and Emilio Hernandez, coach of a local youth football club – FC Prangins. In his presentation, Mr Doglia reiterated the important role coaches play in player development and most importantly in promoting and instilling the values of the football to young players and foster inclusion. From his part, he showcased his experiences and the approaches promoted via his club to ensure an open space that encourage and promote the participation of young children in football. The conference concluded with a panel discussion, during which all the speakers took questions and exchanged views on tackling racism in football.

The Conference was organized as part of the workings of the TACKLE Project that is financed by the Erasmus+ programme. Led by CARDET, the project brought together a consortium of 7 organizations from 6 European countries – KMOP (Greece), Spectrum Research Centre (Ireland), the FARE network (Netherlands), the University of Pitesti (Romania), Institute of Development (Cyprus), and the UEFA Foundation for Children. This project put forward a multidisciplinary and holistic approach in addressing racism, discrimination, and intolerance in grassroots football, engaging football professionals and organizations across the continent to develop resources and tools to empower those at the forefront to operate as active agents in making football a welcoming space for all.

A whole school approach to transform schools into Inclusive Hubs

The purpose of the INCLUSIVE HUBS project is to transform school spaces into inclusive hubs, where all learners will feel welcome, respected, and valued, particularly those with fewer opportunities like migrants.

The project will support holistic approaches to teaching and learning as well as collaboration among all actors relevant to schools (school staff, communities, migrant learners, and their families). According to the European Commission, low proficiency and early school leaving can be a result of the struggle in learning and social exclusion, a phenomenon faced by many European areas.

Several European Union (EU) countries have already developed national strategies to facilitate stronger communication between schools and local communities and provide measures to foster inclusion.

Therefore, the project will contribute to those efforts by developing materials and tools focused on well-being, inclusion, mental health, and personal development.

An Intergenerational Active Debate on How Countering Disinformation to Empower Citizens

MEDIAWISE aims to foster active European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at EU level by raising citizens’ awareness of national and EU level initiatives to counter fake news and online disinformation.

The project will organise online and onsite events firstly to understand citizens’ attitude, habits, needs and ideas about fake news online especially considering the amount of fake news emerged during COVID19.

Consequently, experts will discuss these results in order to organize intergenerational events and debates:

● Contributing to a better understanding of the fields of media literacy and critical thinking within the European perspective through citizens engagement at European level

● Outreaching to EU citizens and raising awareness about fake news in Europe today and their impact on democracy.

● Stimulating an active debate with citizens at European level to foster a better understanding of different perspectivesMEDIAWISE will have an intergenerational approach targeting both older people and young adults who equally face a distinct set of challenges when encountering information online and offline.

Building a Digital World for All

Research to date suggests that newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers use mobile devices, digital media and social media platforms to seek information throughout their journeys. Access and consumption of reliable information is therefore crucial for their safety and inclusion – which ultimately depends on migrants’ digital literacy.

The main aim of this project is to foster youth workers’ understanding and preparedness to promote young migrants’ digital and media literacy through critical thinking and motivation, impacting inclusion processes.

This project will train and empower youth workers to prepare young migrants to critically question and evaluate information disseminated through digital media by combining digital, information and media literacy with critical thinking techniques and the behavioural model of Tiny Habits.

This strengthens the role of youth workers in building the resilience of democratic societies against disinformation through collaborative strategies, while contributing to migrants’ inclusion.

Mindfulness as a path to youth empowerment and wellbeing

But first of all, what on earth is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not about avoiding problems and obstacles. Instead, it’s a daily practice that can help strengthen and develop our day-to-day resilience, in the same way as we tone our muscles at the gym. If properly used, it helps us become more attentive and reconnect with our body, spirit and mind to welcome the present moment just as it is.

Mindfulness: Start here, Start now

We all have our own way of practising mindfulness and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same. Meditation, some kind of exercise, even savouring a meal slowly, or just paying attention to another’s words during a conversation – it’s all part of being “present” and “aware”, just expressed in different ways.

Starting our own mindfulness ritual can be beneficial for anyone and at any age. The sooner we get to regularly practise it, the more resilient we become, especially when facing stressful and challenging situations. It paves way for better concentration, attention span, and lower stress levels. It can also help with your academic and work performance, but most importantly – it teaches to treat yourself and others with better care, kindness and compassion.

BENEFIT with Mindfulness

Not sure where to start? Ride along with CARDET and IoD’s BENEFIT project, which kicked off its work in Prague this June, focused on empowering youth workers and young individuals to build their mindfulness practice. The project brings together organisations from five European countries – Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic and Portugal – who join forces to develop a full set of innovative and applicable tools to educate and guide youth through their mindfulness journey.

You will thus be provided with an interactive and engaging platform that will give them access to resources and training material to help you identify and overcome mental strains, as well as offer mental-health informed support.

Ready to BENEFIT from mindfulness? Find out more about the BENEFIT project and how to engage here.

Increasing Anxiety awareness in higher education during (post) Covid-19 pandemic

Mental health and well-being of students in higher education is an increasing concern, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic which had a considerable impact on them. Anxiety and depression are the two most common reasons that students seek mental health services. However, professionals who interact with students the most, such as Higher Education institutions’ staff, are not trained to recognize or work with anxiety among students.

AWARE aims to:
● Equip staff with the needed tools, resources and knowledge to recognize, manage, and support students with anxiety.
● Develop and improve anxiety management skills among students, while expanding emotional competence and positive attitudes.
● Accommodate the anxious students in HE Institutions by increasing knowledge and skills among the rest of their surroundings.

NEWSPIRACY: Fighting the online Post-Truth conspiracy

NEWSPIRACY aims to raise public awareness of the existence of fake news and their influence, learning about their mechanism and their creation process, in order to be able to detect and analyze them in greater depth. In addition, the project addresses topics on good use of the media, types of fake news, and possible ways to put an end to this phenomenon, with a special emphasis on the development of critical thinking as the main promoter of change.

Specifically, it aims to:

•  Develop critical thinking skills among university students on fake news
•  Raise awareness of the realities of the most sensitive sectors of society and the negative impact fake news has on them
•  Detect and analyse fake news
•  Address possible ways to end the phenomenon of fake news

YouthASD Commemorates World Autism Day

YouthASD, in cooperation with CARDET, has just released a newsletter highlighting the activities and events organized across Europe to commemorate World Autism Day. The partners, from Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Denmark, and Greece, have joined forces for YouthASD Erasmus+ project to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and promote the inclusion of individuals with ASD in the workforce and society as a whole.

We wish to highlight that autism is not a linear condition, but rather a diverse spectrum, each individual with ASD is unique, possessing their own capacities, needs, and interests. Therefore, personalized and specialized support tailored to different stages of their life cycle is necessary to promote their social participation.

To better address this, one of the principal objectives of the 2023 ASD campaign is to draw attention to the variability of the autism spectrum, alongside promotion of social recognition and the sense of belonging to the group. Check out the newsletter to learn more about YouthASD’s efforts or visit the website to stay up to date with the upcoming events.