Rethinking Sustainability, Empowerment and Integration for Women Refugees

By: Adriana Iuliana Sandu  

In recent years the numbers of refugees and migrants moving across borders have been unprecedented. Women and children constitute half of those seeking safety, escaping war and poverty. The European support is mainly aimed at emergency relief, without a framework for legal protection, especially for the most vulnerable of the refugees. It has been argued that Europe needs to move beyond the dominant model of refugee assistance and adopt a model that provides protection but also autonomy for refugees. This article offers a critique to the international discourse on sustainability as it applies to women refugees, who are often unable to access basic protection and are vulnerable to traffickers and sexual exploitation. It also addresses the need for social work agencies to develop a more comprehensive approach to offer support to this transient group, without making it dependent on their legal status. Using a theoretical framework of social movements, it also argues that the lack of formal governmental interventions (i.e. designated social services), has in fact created a ‘precarity’ which then activated various elements of political mobilization among activist groups. Drawing on a case study of a leading UK refugee charity, it shows how social services and resettlement policies can provide sustainable solutions for refugees in host countries.

Women, Refugees, Resettlement
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Adriana Iuliana Sandu

Senior Reserach Fellow, Education And Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University