Fostering the Integration of Young Migrants through New Communication Tools
I.COM is a project co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union to help break negative stereotypes and opinions society has about migration and migrants, especially Muslims.
Migration is a process whereby individuals leave their home country to find better economic and work prospects elsewhere. Migrants who travel to European countries often do so to seek a better quality of living by successfully integrating with society. Unfortunately, these migrants are often subject to racist remarks, stereotypical labelling, and unequal treatment, with the idea of migration always falling under a negative light. The I.COM Project aims to help migrants move away from this ideology, while also eliminating the stigma associated with migration in general. As a minority group, Muslim migrants tend to be even more subjected to negativity and prejudice, leading towards the need for such a project as I.COM to focus on this sub-group of migrants.
The I.COM Project is a European-wide initiative aimed at the successful integration of migrants with society. The best way to ensure such integration is by targeting migrant youths who are still introducing themselves to society at large. Essentially, I.COM works to foster a positive attitude and respectful behaviour between migrant Muslim youths as well as non-migrant Maltese youths (which include all individuals born in Malta, irrespective of their parents/guardians' citizenship), as well as towards society at large. The I.COM Project aims to achieve these goals by adopting an innovative approach through a powerful and effective communicative tool: Music.
Music is a medium that brings people together. It enables individuals to express their emotions in a safe and creative environment while encouraging creative expression. The I.COM Project catalyses efforts to introduce young migrants and non-migrants to the world of music so that they can freely share their experiences with migration, while also raising positive awareness to the public at large. With the help of appropriate facilitators and artists, these youths will be introduced to an innovative medium through which they can express themselves, convey emotions and break negative connotations associated with migration in general.
The Project will see around 25 participants, aged between 12 to 18 years, taking part in a series of 8 workshops on Hip-Hop-RAP music. These workshops will include both migrant (individuals who are not born in Malta, but who have travelled here for a better lifestyle) and non-migrants (individuals who are born in Malta), to create a culturally diverse environment through cooperation, integration, and creativity. During these workshops, participants will also be tasked with the management of a web radio show featuring their musical creations, debates with other migrants or persons of interests, as well as general discussions on a variety of themes related to migration.
As part of these workshops, the participants will have the opportunity to experience and familiarise themselves with the music industry while also being mentored by experienced musicians and producers. These mentors have been specifically chosen for the Project, due to their previous experience with youth work, as well as their vast knowledge in different areas and genres of music. The mentors will also be accompanied by a certified social worker. As a result, these facilitators will help the youths through their creative process while also aiding them through any emotional experiences they may go through throughout the workshops themselves.
The I.COM initiative is set to start in January 2020 and will run throughout the year, with the workshops being finalised in June. The Project will also account for effective evaluative measures, as participants will be asked to provide their feedback at all stages of the workshops. Keeping in line with ethical behaviours, all youths and their parents/legal guardians are required to fill in a consent form before they can participate. These measures will be then be quantified and studied to track the outcomes and success of the project. The following months of 2020 will be dedicated to various awareness-raising events regarding migration targeted towards schools, civil professionals, the media and the general public.
For more information about the project, please visit: https://icom-project.eu/
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.