The KRAN Youth Forum, an action platform for social change in Kent
Hearing the Voice of Refugee Youth
For too long, the voice of refugee young people has been hidden. The issues that young refugees arriving in the UK face are immense and complex. Their stories reflect truths that the rest of society cannot hear, and remain unheard and often untold. The KRAN Youth Forum has been exploring some of these stories with our young people and others who are involved. There are always several angles to a good story. It has been revealing to see how different perceptions can create layers of misunderstanding that lead to tragedy.
Young refugees struggle to comply with UK college entry requirements because they have not been in the UK to get these. And while they work to get basic school certificates, court and Home Office rulings often result in sudden withdrawal from schools or ejection from homes. To an already precarious situation, and on top of serious stress levels, this adds burden upon burden to refugee youth. It is a wonder many more do not snap.
And yet most seem at a loss as to what to do. KRAN’s view is that the young people themselves hold the key to understanding the consequences policies and public actions. Through funding from the Act for Change Foundation, KRAN have hired 3 Youth Ambassadors who will act as a link between wider refugee youth in Kent, and with them to explore issues that create problems.
The Ambassadors are all young refugees themselves who have made great steps in their own lives. They have been working with the Youth Forum as members, and now have taken up a part time role in KRAN to work through building linkages between refugee youth, and with social services, colleges, employers, mental health care providers and more.
With support from the Act for Change Foundation, the three Youth Ambassadors will explore difficult issues that affect refugee youth, and with young people themselves, develop actions that they and KRAN can do together, or in support of one another. Using action learning, we will probe solutions by testing out ideas and bring different stakeholders together in this process. This promises to be a revealing and stimulating piece of work.
The kinds of solutions that we will try out will come from youth themselves. This makes them heard and offers the opportunity to try solutions out. Our Ambassadors are key to this, and we are excited to have three of them. Watch this space for news of what happens next.