The TOY for Inclusion Approach presented in PACE Committee on Migration in Paris, France

Giulia Cortellesi, Co-Director of ICDI, was invited to the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which took place in Paris on 19 and 20 March 2024.

UK MP Ms Kate Osamor, rapporteur for the Committee on the topic ‘Immigration, one of the answers to Europe’s demographic aging’ invited ICDI to present how the TOY and TOY for Inclusion approaches foster cooperation between refugees and migrants, emphasising their role in promoting social cohesion and inclusion through intergenerational learning.

The TOY for Inclusion Play Hubs, like other intergenerational initiatives, address three critical societal issues: age segregation, the global aging population, and fostering social cohesion in culturally diverse societies.

Intergenerational initiatives have the capacity to counteract the increasing lack of contact between generations and lack of social cohesion between vulnerable and culturally diverse communities.

Public and shared spaces facilitate connectedness and understanding between generations and citizens of diverse communities. These provide opportunities to develop social networks and relationships (i.e. social capital) especially for those with a migrant background and living in disadvantaged circumstances.

Governments, and Local Authorities – as responsible for policies for children and older people – need to recognise the role that non-formal organisations and provisions play in promoting inclusive, intergenerational and intercultural initiatives and support their work.

ICDI’s co-director emphasized the positive impact of intergenerational learning on children, older adults, and communities alike, contributing to build more inclusive and cohesive communities.

Very similar messages were conveyed by the other two experts invited by the Committee: Ms Dragana Curovic, representing the intergenerational co-housing project ‘SällBo’ in Sweden; and Mr Zakaria Ibrahim, Syrian refugee and cultural mediator in a small village in the South of Italy that is fighting depopulation through hosting migrants.

We are grateful to Ms Osamor and PACE Committee on Migration for inviting us and contributing to this important discussion.

We thank all the TOY4Inclusion partners for the invaluable work they do with the Play Hubs in their countries: Romani Early Years Network, International Step by Step Association, Center for Education Initiatives, Open Academy Step by Step- Korak Po Korak, Leger des Heils, Associazione 21 Luglio, Partners Hungary, Skola Dokoran, Pedagoski Institut, LHSI.