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Welcome migrants
Welcome migrants

Welcome migrants

Develop formal structures to help in the settlement and integration process

Develop formal structures to help in the settlement and integration process

How to get started:
There are concrete ways to help migrants in your community, from providing them with their basic needs to giving a migrant family a private sponsorship.

Some practical tips:
When migrants pass through or settle in your community, they need to know how to access education, how public transport works, where to look for a job and where hospitals with facilities open to migrants are.

What are the benefits?
Giving migrants easy access to this essential information will show them how much you are welcoming them by offering practical support. It helps build bridges too, and promotes the culture of encounter when one person gives to another, who gratefully receives.

Volunteer at a community group interacting with newcomers

Volunteer at a community group interacting with newcomers

How to get started:
If you wish to make your encounter with migrants a regular action, volunteering is a good route. It creates bridges of welcome and trust where migration and the language around it have previously produced fear and suspicion.

Some practical tips:
Your church buildings should be welcoming, with clear signs, preferably in migrants’ languages. Provide as much welcoming encouragement as possible by inviting migrants and members of minority ethnic groups to attend special services – around World Refugee Day during the Global Week of Action, for example. Think about if you could host a drop-in centre or toddler group.

What are the benefits?
If your community has no group working with newcomers, this could be a very successful action for you. Offering adult literacy sessions or teaching computer skills will demonstrate your welcome.

Invite a migrant to share a meal

Invite a migrant to share a meal

How to get started:
Many relationships can start over a meal, when the valuable time together builds bonds and understanding. You can ask the nearest migrant centre to put you in touch with people if there are no migrants in your community.

Some practical tips:
Think about how to invite newcomers. Ideally, both you and your guests can prepare a dish each, or cook together, so the stories of diversity multiply!

What are the benefits?
Migrants may feel lonely or homesick, so sharing food will help them feel welcome. It will allow both the host and the guest to establish a firm relationship.

Speaking up
for migrants
Speaking up <br>for migrants

Speaking up
for migrants

Use the power of prayer to sensitise other people to take action

Use the power of prayer to sensitise other people to take action

How to get started:
Following Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries, you can collect stories from people who have experienced migration and create prayers or lead meditation groups.

Some practical tips:
You can ask parish permission for a prayer group or liturgy team and research papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, reflections and pastoral resources on migrants for inspiration. You can invite migrants to come and pray at Sunday Mass.

What are the benefits?
Jesus commanded, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ By praying like this at Sunday Mass, you rekindle an idea in people’s hearts and minds that this invitation by Jesus is a concrete, viable future. Pay special attention to listening.

Advocate for migrants’ rights

Advocate for migrants’ rights

How to get started:
If your Caritas Member Organisation has an advocacy programme you can get involved in. If there isn’t one, you can start one. You can analyse policies from the Caritas perspective of human dignity and aim to write to – and meet – members of your national legislature.

Some practical tips:
You can set up spaces where people affected by policies can speak, or organise discussions with policymakers and government officials.

What are the benefits?
You can work with your national Caritas to advocate directly with your government to ensure it participates in the process creating the UN Global Compacts for Migrants and Refugees.

Set up a group to write a mission statement

Set up a group to write a mission statement

How to get started:
Gather a diverse group of people – from church officials to youth leaders to migrants – who have personal experience to contribute. Look at what it being said about migration and its effect and list the needs of people in your community and of migrants. Use Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching for inspiration and write a mission statement.

Some practical tips:
Expand any existing statements with new findings from your group. Invite your national Bishops’ Conference to write one. Having a vision could help drive people towards embracing and celebrating diversity and educate them on migration.

What are the benefits?
The focus of a mission statement will make it clearer how best you can make social cohesion a reality.

Promoting a culture of
encounter
Promoting a culture of <br>encounter

Promoting a culture of
encounter

Reach people who are thinking of migrating, or those who have returned, to create change where they live

Reach people who are thinking of migrating, or those who have returned, to create change where they live

How to get started:
People who are contemplating migrating, and returnees with direct experience of the journey, can broaden the scope for positive change by bringing their voices to the discussion. They can highlight the problems and also the pitfalls. So, if you’d like to work with them, one focus may be on making life and the land in rural communities more viable. Encounters with young people who feel there is nothing for them at home, or with returnees who can’t find work, could benefit your campaign with the honesty they bring.

Some practical tips:
Events around stewardship and caring for our common home may be a very good place to start – as may be actions around food security. These issues reach everyone very directly. You could set up a group looking at how to help communities thrive where they live now by managing the environment sustainably.

What are the benefits?
Actions around caring for and regenerating our common natural resources can bring hands-on involvement and enthusiasm as well as direct results. National policies on the ownership and rehabilitation of degraded land often start locally – you can bring change at a variety of levels. Young people especially can be inspired by the direct benefits to them, which could help them stay at home.

Engage diaspora communities in development and bringing change

Engage diaspora communities in development and bringing change

How to get started:
If you’d like to work with diaspora group, you could start off with identifying appropriate partners and exploring setting up small business enterprises in both the host and home countries. Then you can also advocate for fair trade agreements. Consider organising events around the Convention for Migrant Workers.

Some practical tips:
Approach any existing diaspora organisations with an especially warm welcome. Explain to them what the ‘culture of encounter’ is and make it clear that you want to work with them in an inclusive manner, as their partners.

What are the benefits?
Diaspora organisations serve as bridges between home and host countries. Some already have structures in place, which you can harness to successfully promote the ‘culture of encounter’.

Initiate a community arts project

Initiate a community arts project

How to get started:
You can set up your own arts project or use an existing one to help promote the Share the Journey campaign. You could put on a theatre play, start a music group or create a photography exhibition. Local schools could also be involved to help widen the migration debate. You will find a lot of excitement out there!

Some practical tips:
Whatever art form you choose, make storytelling central and use it to steer conversations towards new perspectives on migration to promote the ‘culture of encounter’. Writing, video, audio, comics, photography and drawing can all be powerful tools for migrants to share their stories.

What are the benefits?
This activity moves beyond any constraints imposed by language as you can use nonlanguage based activities to help people come together, make sense of events and build their confidence in each other as creative citizens.

Organise language courses in your neighbourhood

Organise language courses in your neighbourhood

How to get started:
If you know migrants with little knowledge of your language and are willing to teach them some, this initiative is right for you. You can start voluntary language classes – important spaces to establish social participation and to promote the ‘culture of encounter.’

Some practical tips:
Teaching migrants the basics of the language spoken in your country doesn’t necessarily require specific skills, just a desire to help and a smile. Give both teachers and students a big welcome to boost their confidence. It can be really enjoyable – you can pick out local events or stories for lesson plans, creating a communal sense of belonging. And it’s fun to share knowledge, as well as to receive it. An upcoming local fair could provide inspiration for a speaking lesson. The opening of a new shop could form the basis of a writing lesson.

What are the benefits?
Being unable to communicate in the local language is a huge barrier to social inclusion, in terms of interacting and also finding work. If you hold classes in a local parish property and recruit as many volunteer teachers and migrant students as possible, you will find your ‘culture of encounter’ spreads exponentially!

Create “human libraries” and “living books”

Create “human libraries” and “living books”

How to get started:
A “human library” is a wonderful way of connecting with migrants and refugees as “living books” to tell their stories. You can contact local agencies working with migrants and ask if they’re willing to participate. If language could be a barrier, you can use images to tell a story or find an interpreter.

Some practical tips:
Migrants can share inspiring stories, ideas or pictures of their lives, which stir people’s imagination and emotions. Special “living books” days challenge stigma and discrimination.

What are the benefits?
Refugees and migrants can create vivid images of their migration journey and leave listeners with an impression that lasts long after their story is finished. The ‘culture of encounter’ will benefit hugely from bringing people together to speak about and listen to human experiences.

Bring migrants and local youth together to make their voices heard

Bring migrants and local youth together to make their voices heard

How to get started:
Young migrants’ use of social media to mobilise and make their views known can play a vital role in national migration policy debates. It can also bring them together with local young people as you can encourage them to share their experiences and challenges. They can make a dynamic contribution to building inclusive and peaceful societies by helping them organise talks and debates in schools, colleges and youth groups.

Some practical tips:
To harness young people’s understanding of new technology and media, you can invite them to share their experiences of migration through online photo-sharing tools. You can help them extend their skills into online organising and public speaking.

What are the benefits?
If you include young people in all stages of the activity, it will be more effective and relevant. You may be able to build on other activities and not have to create separate youth events. Their involvement is key. Please remember that you must meet any legal requirements for working with young people.

Reach out: Show your support for migrants

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