A sense of belonging is a human need that is too often overlooked by policy makers concerned with creating frameworks that define the roles and rights of migrants. The focus has all too often been on promoting assimilation rather than integration, putting the onus predominantly, if not solely, on the immigrant who is often already tired and troubled, and not on the community in which they are seeking to settle.
The opposite of a sense of belonging is essentially a sense of isolation. This can lead to low self-esteem, poor health, loneliness and frustration, all of which precipitate conflict in one form or another.
Conflict, economics and the environment will all continue to push people to migrate away from what was once home. When residents in host cities help migrants to create new secure and welcoming homes, they help bring out the best in them, as well as themselves.
Download Paper ‘Migrant integration in Europe: The role of Belonging’ [PDF, English]
Written by: Reem Maghribi
Drawing from the oral history collection ‘Stories of Belonging’
Published by Sharq.Org (2021)
Initiative supported by: the Konrad Adenauer Foundation