Volunteering Buddy Program Development for B. Refuge

Project Description

Research Paper, Survey , Grant Proposal, Program Design

This projects seeks to break down social, cultural, and linguistic barriers existing between refugee claimants and the McGill Community. It will combat isolation, and will foster cross cultural dialogue between refugee claimants, McGill students, and other community members.

B. Refuge works to break down social and linguistic barriers existing between refugee claimants and the larger Montreal setting. We work towards this goal by sponsoring social outings that encourage cross-cultural dialogue and language exchange between refugee claimants and McGill students. We also run a buddy pairing program, wherein refugee claimants and students are matched, and the buddy pair is then assigned a community organization with which they do volunteer work. The buddy program was developed with the goals of not only fostering cross-cultural dialogue and language skills, but also civic engagement.
This research project will identify the ways in which B.Refuge can be more effective in its mandate of helping refugee claimants integrate into their communities. This would involve asking two major questions. First, it needs to be identified how claimants view themselves relative to the communities in which they live, and in what ways they are likely to engage with these communities (socially, in a civic capacity, and/or politically). Secondly, assuming that community involvement is a positive phenomenon, it will be important to identify how social work institutions effectively encourage and facilitate community engagement, and in particular how B.Refuge can be a more effective organization.
In addition to extensive reading, research methods would include surveying and interviewing different actors. Interviews with refugee claimants would help the researcher to ascertain how refugee claimants view themselves relative to their communities, and the extent to which they involve themselves or desire to be involved in their communities. Interviews with staff members of community organizations and social workers working with refugee claimants will help to contextualize the issue of community engagement. Reviewing organizational reports and conducting interviews with staff members of community groups will be important in identifying structural factors important to community involvement.

How Research Will be Used:

The results of the research project will be used to re-design B Refuge’s buddy volunteering program.

The larger goal served by undertaking this project is the fostering of cross-cultural dialogue between McGill students and refugee claimants and the greater Montreal community.

About B. Refuge:

B Refuge is a QPIRG working group and a Student Society of McGill University club.

B Refuge’s mandate is to promote cross cultural dialogue and language exchange between McGill students and refugee claimants. Refugee claimants often remain isolated from their communities because of their newness to and unfamiliarity with Canada, or because of their unfamiliarity with French and English.

Project Type / Size:

Larger (More than One Semester)

15 hours during summer, 8 hours during school year (to oversee implementation of program)

Research should be completed during summer

This project will require a 30-40 page paper analyzing how refugee claimants engage with their communities, the role of social work institutions in facilitating this, and how B. Refuge can promote community engagement through a volunteering buddy program. This paper will be submitted for course credit. The project will continue beyond the scope of the course, however. The researcher will re-design the volunteering buddy program, and oversee its implementation during the school year.

About B. Refuge