Integration of young refugees in the EU: good practices and challenges Quotations of refugees

Length of asylum procedures

Muslim woman holding a clock.

This is not an experience, it is suffering [...] a struggle because you need to wait between 30 and 40 days to register, they give you a number and this number needs to be shown on the screen. The screen works every day from 8.00 until 18.00. I remained 35 days like this [...] waiting for the number to show up.
(Refugee from Syria, male, Germany)

Family reunification

Silhouettes of refugee family - mother, father and two children.

A young Syrian beneficiary of subsidiary protection in Germany recalls that his parents: "went to Lebanon from Syria. It [the journey] journey] was a torture for them [...]. They finally reached the embassy but turned back to Syria with big disappointment because the child is 18 years old now. [...] [Travelling] to Turkey was extremely dangerous [...] they travelled while Idlib was under intensive bombing, they stayed 11 days there [at the border, not being able to enter Turkey]. I suffered a lot during those 10 days. They tried to cross borders but they could not until we paid smugglers [...] to transfer the family from Idlib to Turkey, two months ago [...] the costs were high but more importantly the journey was not safe [...]
(Subsidiary protection status holder from Syria, male, Germany)


One hand holds a key out to an open palm.

When I arrived in Traiskirchen, I think also 200 others came. Back then I only spoke my mother tongue and didn't understand German or English. There were only a few Somali translators there. And in the first night, they took all the children and women, quickly and suddenly all the women were gone and I was alone with the men. That night there were only men, and all the women were gone, and I didn't have anyone who helped me speak in Somali. I didn't find anyone and I couldn't ask what was going on. Maybe they said my last name but I didn't hear it and then I slept outside. And then I found a man who spoke Somali and English and then he went to the office with me and said: 'it's a girl and she is 14 years old and she doesn't have space.
(Subsidiary protection status holder from Somalia, female, Austria)

Social welfare for status holders

A pile of coins held within a hand.

When I was under the age of 18, I had more opportunities, I mean it wasn’t an issue. They usually took care of everything. But when I turned 18, it was a lot harder. You just received money for food, nothing else. There were more problems, and I didn’t get any information about how to apply for financial permits or anything else. When you’re under 18 years you have the chance to ... besides food, you can buy clothes and some other stuff. But when you turn 18, it’s a lot harder, it’s just food. If you don’t have a residence permit, you can’t even work, so it’s just money for food. This money you get for food, it’s just money for surviving. (Asylum applicant from Afghanistan, male, Sweden)


Mental health

A young woman sits on a floor with her head down and her knees up against her chest.

What was a little difficult is that you have to start all over again. They ask you in several different places about your situation, your real problem [...] and that gets to you. It gets to you very badly. Because everything you've experienced and all the stuff that ... the misery you've had or ... there are things you do not want to talk about, and they'll ask you all that again.
(Refugee from Guinea who arrived as an unaccompanied child, male, France)

Education for children

School children standing in a line reading books.

I knew no one, I had no German friends nor Syrians, [...] so I wasn't feeling well psychologically [...] I felt lonely [...] yes, I was going to the library and getting Arabic books [...] Sometimes, I stopped eating for days, I just had no appetite. I was doing groceries, cleaning the house, going out [...] despite all of this, I was feeling lonely, I don't know, I felt it was really difficult. [...] I came here; I went out from a jail to another jail. I was expecting that I would start school quickly, get friends, and be smiling. This all turned out the opposite, I had no friends, I had no school, and I was always home [...]. All things accumulated and pressured me, it was really difficult, I attempted suicide [...].
(Subsidiary protection status holder from Syria, female, Germany)

Adult education and vocational training

Three young women working together on laptops.

[When I registered with the school they] gave me this appointment, and I told the school director straight away that I didn't like this course, that I didn't want to become a bricklayer, then I came here and I spoke with Martina [the reception facility coordinator] and she explained to me that even if I did this course I wasn't obliged to pursue it as a career and become a bricklayer. And so I went and did the courses at the Umanitaria and [...] at the Muraria school ... Unfortunately, [...] I did these courses but in the end nothing, [opportunities for] working as a baker were blocked, as a pizza maker blocked, construction wasn't my choice, so I didn't even try.
(Humanitarian protection status holder from Mali, male, Italy)

Vulnerability to crime

An eye with the reflection of a raised hand showing in the middle.

I have this friend. We used to live together in [a reception centre for unaccompanied children in Milan]. He turned 18 and he didn't have anything. He wanted to eat, he wasn't working ... If somebody says to you 'I'll give you money, come here and do this' it's easy, and it's what you need. He worked with them and then the police stopped him and now he's in prison for drug dealing. My teacher told me to be careful with these people and I didn't know this before, I didn't know there were these people who give you money, you deal drugs and then it's impossible to leave that [world].
(Subsidiary protection status holder from Somalia, male, Italy)