Take 22 young people who identify strongly with a diaspora community. Put them in a room together for two days to talk about issues around conflict and development. Encourage them go off and speak to their friends, peers, families and experts about these issues. Then bring them back together to help them draw-out their conclusions. The result is a new youth-led research paper called Voice of youth: Discussions on class, caste, drugs and gangs.
The young people who wrote the paper (pictured right) are aged 15–20 and from three different areas in England: Derby, Lancashire and west London. The group saw key links between dynamics in their country of heritage and the patterns that affect their lives here in England. They therefore chose topics that they felt were particularly relevant to this and that reflect the different spheres of their lives. These include: the differences and similarities between caste and class in England; gangs and the impact they have on young people; and drugs and the issues they pose for young people.
Their research reflects on the power dynamics that exist between classes, changing perceptions and tensions between different generations of diaspora communities, and the different nature of people’s ties to their country of heritage. It also explores the implications that an uncertain immigration status after fleeing a conflict area can have on the potential for young people to get involved in negative influences such as drugs.
This work is part of our Promoting Positive Diaspora Voices project, funded by the European Union. Our partners on this project are Global Education Derby, Lancashire Global Education Centre, West London YMCA and Y Care International.