Italy: registry of volunteer cultural and linguistic mediators
The Italian municipality of Naples introduced a special registry of volunteer tutors with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to act as cultural and linguistic mediators in 2007. The use of cultural and linguistic mediators is a great support to the work of guardians and aids children’s social integration.
Croatia: ‘Life of Unaccompanied Children’ project
The Croatian Centre for Missing and Exploited Children implemented the project ‘The Life of Unaccompanied Children in Croatia – visible/invisible, abandoned, secure/insecure?’ in 2017-2018. The main objectives of the project were to enhance the cultural competences of professionals directly working with unaccompanied children, and to raise public awareness of the needs and position of unaccompanied children in Croatia. The project established a coordination team for unaccompanied children. In addition, educational workshops were conducted for special guardians, experts from the social welfare system, police officers and healthcare professionals (80 participants in total) from different regions of Croatia. The project also enabled the participation of unaccompanied children, especially for creating leaflets containing basic information on Croatian culture.
The Netherlands: cultural mediation pilot
Nidos, the national guardianship institution for unaccompanied children, initiated a cultural mediation pilot which ran from 2016 to 2017. Guardians consulted cultural mediators in over 40 cases during the pilot and experiences were positive. Children and young people find it easy to trust a mediator and this always has a positive effect on their well-being. Besides using cultural mediators for increasing mutual understanding, Nidos also involves them in research and in the development of culturally sensitive trauma interventions. The pilot identified a few pitfalls, for example the importance of being clear about the roles and responsibilities of guardians compared to those of cultural mediators.
Following the lessons learned from the pilot, Nidos has been integrating cultural mediation into guardianship since 2018, putting in place an application system, a coherent way of working, a monitoring and evaluation system, and training for cultural mediators. The aim is to work towards the professionalisation of cultural mediators.