Imagine yourself moving to a foreign country, full of hope but with no clue about the language, the system, the opportunities you will find. Your goal is to improve your life, and working will obviously be one of your priorities, still one of the biggest obstacles. It is possible that initially you will not be able to have a work permit, and this not only will make you socially vulnerable, but it will distance you from the ideal professional goal you have worked so much to accomplish.
Those who leave their country, by choice or necessity, have aspirations and professional goals like everyone else, despite circumstances too often force them to put these dreams aside. How many talents remain hidden due to a system that does not sufficiently value the migrants it takes? How many of these, with the possibility to enroll in university, would be able to succeed and accomplish great projects, even for the country who’s hosting them?
To answer these issues and overcome the initial stalemate that too often compromises the entire process of integration and personal fulfillment, a team of young professional based in Italy has created Mygrants.
Mygrants is committed to discover the potential and talent of the migrants who arrive in Italy and access the reception routes, through a simple mobile phone app, which gives access to different training modules.
As Aisha Coulabily, co-founder of Mygrants, explains, the idea of using an app to support migrants in defining their ideal training and working path, is linked to the fact that most of them are very young and know the web (buying a phone and a sim card is among arrival’s priorities). The training modules of Mygrants are offered in 3 languages (English, French and Italian), and their administration is designed to follow the standard integration path:
Dependence, Resilience and Emancipation
The dependence phase is related to their very first arrival in Italy, and aims to provide information about the reception system, the asylum application procedures and basic human rights; the resilience phase is linked to the first reception, during which, on the basis of interests and inclinations, the migrant can begin tracing his/her training path, which will end with the third stage of emancipation. The resilience phase is particularly delicate, considering that the migrant spends on average 257 days in the shelters, a very long period during which working opportunities are very limited and training opportunities on average are reduced. The modules offered by Mygrants in this sense are an important diversion, those who show interest and perseverance can move on to the emancipation phase, where on the basis of previous results, migrants are addressed to different activities: higher education (university courses), job placement (internships training that in 98% of cases have become open-ended contracts), entrepreneurship (through the Make My Way program). MakeMyWay is the offline program developed by Mygrants for the aspiring entrepreneurs previously identified through the app. The program aims at providing tools and skills useful in shaping an entrepreneurial mindset, it is divided into a series of workshops and participants can count on the support and experience of mentors and business advisors.
More specifically, Mygrants’ services and modules offer:
1) Information: fundamental human rights, European fundamental rights, European asylum system & hotspots, disembarkation info, Italian Reception System 2) Personal Growth: SPRAR system, C3 & verbalizzazione, access to education, territorial commission, influencers 3) Opportunity: identify the opportunity, use the creativity, focus on your vision, value your ideas, ethical & sustainable thinking.
During the emancipation phase, the Mygrants team analyzes attitudes and previous skills, drafting a framework for the acquisition and management of profiles. To do it, they take into consideration different aspects (age, sex, personal tendencies, perseverance, attention to details), analyzing aptitudinal, educational and professional profiles and identifying what skills are missed to accede the next training phases.
The results of Mygrants, are more than satisfactory: in one year it became refugees’ most used online platform, with about 38,000 users throughout Italy.
This, thanks to a mix of factors, including the functionality and usability of its services, a series of very important partnerships, and an effective word of mouth between users and newly arrived migrants who, once in Italy, already know Mygrants and how to register in the platform.
The collaboration with several universities is fundamental, considering that 47% of immigrants aged 25 to 35 haven’t attended high school, and 88% haven’t had the opportunity to attend University.
“We are pioneers in the era of non-formal education and today, we are focused on identifying various innovative solutions to the many problems that immigrants face every day during their long journey home. Mygrants generates opportunities in contexts of adversity! You?”.