An Exploration of Integration Journeys and Well-being:
A YPAR Project with Syrian Refugee Youth
Researchers: Abe Oudshoorn1, Fawziah Rabiah-Mohammed1, Yasmin Hussain2, Ahmad Mouazen3, Sarah Alkik3, Diana Alaw3, Yasmin AlJabra3, Gharam Alsied3, Omar Almohamad3, Mahmoud Alzobani3
Affiliation: Western University1, the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI)2, youth co-researchers3
Research Partner: MRCSSI
Keywords: Syrian youth, refugee youth, newcomer youth, participatory action research, YPAR, photovoice, arts-based methods, integration, wellbeing, identity, belonging, resilience, protective factors. Ontario, Canada
Go to: Full Infographic, Methodology, Findings, Photo Gallery, Publications & Reports
Overview: Syrian refugee youth (aged 15 to 22) used narrative and arts-based methods such as PhotoVoice to share their integration experiences. The project explored how integration is experienced and navigated in relation to family, peers/friendships, school, work and community.
Objective: To understand Syrian refugee youth’s perspectives on integration and to explore the protective factors and vulnerabilities that shape their integration experiences and resilience.
Research Justification: This study broadens our understanding of the diverse experiences of integration among Syrian refugee youth, as well as identifying protective factors and supports that can enhance refugee youth’s resilience. YPAR is a resilience-building process that helps youth co-researchers build important skills.
The study used a youth participatory action research (YPAR) framework. Seven Syrian refugee youth (aged 15-22) were recruited as co-researchers. Co-researchers worked alongside the lead researcher and MRCSSI staff to facilitate four focus groups, with 5-6 Syrian youth (aged 15-22) in each group. Focus groups were conducted in Arabic or English based on co-researchers’ and participants’ preferences. From among the focus group participants, nine youth, including some co-researchers, were invited to engage in a photovoice process to construct their stories of integration and resilience. Concurrently, nine other youth participated in in-depth interviews, with a goal of capturing the perspectives of refugee youth who are less connected to MRCSSI’s services and group activities. Participants’ photos, the meanings they associated with the photos, and data from the focus groups and interviews were incorporated and thematically analysed.
Youth Participants’ Photo Gallery
The research team has put together a website to share the youth participants’ photography.
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