Earlier this month, our French member, the Fédération de l’Entraide Protestante (FEP), has released its activity report “Volunteer Refugee Hosting Initiatives” for the period 2017 – 2018. The report evaluates the work done by the FEP and its member associations with regards to its humanitarian corridors programme, featuring conclusions and outlooks regarding the FEP’s hosting and integration programmes.
FEP’s integration programme started in 2014 after the first refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq started arriving in France. The work was carried out in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior and as of 2017 with other faith based organisations. The humanitarian corridor programme builds on these initiatives and follows three goals: (i) to allow refugees who have fled Syria and Iraq headed for Lebanon to find safety in France; (ii) to support and develop solidarity drives involving Christian and non-Christian community networks to ensure unconditional acceptance and (iii) to help newcomers to settle and integrate into the country. Between 2015 and 2018, it was instrumental in hosting and supporting around 435 people (approximately 88 families) and at the end of 2018, around 250 people were part of the programme.
During 2018, community groups guided by the FEP and consisting of professional staff and volunteers hosted 127 people (33 families) across the country, who received visas as part of the humanitarian corridors initiative. In addition to accommodation, these community groups provide guidance for asylum seekers on integrating into French society and accessing employment.
A key lesson learnt during the project was that hosting refugees helps to change attitudes towards foreigners, as 75 % of the host groups involved say that the project has made a positive impact on how the people around them viewed migrants. Considering this positive impact, the FEP would like to share the specific expertise it has developed in hosting and supporting asylum seekers in the future. This will involve sharing the lessons it has learnt with all the players in the sector: civil society organisations, public authorities and committed citizens.
To know more about our member’s humanitarian corridor project please read the activity report.
To read about Eurodiaconia’s work on migration and integration, please consult our most recent report on fostering cooperation between NGOs and local authorities.