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REFUGE-ED | Fostering socially inclusive, supportive learning environments for refugee children

refugee children
REFUGE-ED aims at fostering socially inclusive, supportive learning environments for refugee children, unaccompanied minors and the hosting communities. Schools, parents and communities will be actively involved in choosing and implementing the actions that best fit their needs.


Since 2015 Europe has experienced its largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Many of the refugees arriving in Europe are children and unaccompanied minors; children that have suffered displacement, separation from loved ones, and – very often – exposure to violence. Making sure the children and youth have access to quality education and a protective learning environment is key to restore their emotional security and sense of place. In this context, the European Union supports research to overcome integration challenges for migrant children.

The educational and social systems in Europe often do not have the tools to tackle the social, emotional, and educational challenges that child refugees and unaccompanied minors tend to struggle with.

Funded by the European Union, the REFUGE-ED initiative aims at fostering socially inclusive, supportive learning environments for refugee children, unaccompanied minors and the hosting communities. To do this, the REFUGE-ED project works with an evidence-based approach identifying successful practices in education and mental health and psychosocial support that have proven positive social impact. In close collaboration with educators, students, parents and communities, the research team explores how these practices can be adapted and scaled to meet the specific local needs at any educational institution in the European Union.

“In education practice is too often based on assumptions and prejudice, which stands in the way of providing high quality education. For years we have worked in the development and identification of educational practices that have a scientifically proven impact. One of the things we know from our research is that the more the educators, children and their families have access to these scientifically proven successful practices, thus, they are involved in selecting, adapting and participating in their implementation, the better outcome we can expect.” explains Dr. Teresa Sorde Martí, coordinator of the REFUGE-ED project and professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. “For this reason, scientific evidence and dialogic co-creation is at the core of everything we do in the project.”

46 schools, institutional care facilities and reception centres in Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Sweden, and Bulgaria will implement these successful practices. At each site, educators, children and families will choose the practices they find most relevant and work together to adapt and scale them to their specific needs.

The project team participates in and evaluates the processes to be able to share the learning with the wider educational community through a platform launched at the end of the project. This platform will provide all the knowledge and training necessary to roll out the practices for enhancing educational success, emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging at any European school.

The REFUGE-ED consortium brings together nine research institutions and non-government organisations located in six countries: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona – Spain, Università degli Studi di Firenze – Italy, Centre for European Refugees, Migration and Ethnic Studies, New Bulgarian University – Bulgaria, KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre – Greece, Trinity Centre for Global Health – Ireland, The MHPSS Collaborative – Denmark, International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Psychosocial Centre – Denmark, Support Group Network – Sweden, and Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud – Italy. Their combined expertise includes migration studies, education, mental health and psychosocial support, humanitarian, and social field work. The project activities will cover the 2021-2023 period.

For further information you can visit the project’s official website:

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