Refugee is not my Identity: How NGOs Influence Displaced Youth’s Development of Belonging in the Netherlands

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Developing belonging within a host country is imperative for the well-being of displaced youth, who make up 23% of the displaced population in the Netherlands. Several Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Netherlands dedicate their missions to the well-being of displaced youth. This thesis seeks to understand how these NGOs can best support displaced youth developing belonging within their host country. Through direct observation of displaced youth and in-depth and semi-structured interviews with NGO professionals, this thesis determined that there are eight main groups of indicators that influence displaced youth’s negotiations of belonging: 1) Safety; 2) Home; 3) Place Attachments; 4) Family; 5) Language; 6) Social relationships and building community; 7) Racism, discrimination, and segregation; and 8) Political status. These indicators are intersectional and show that displaced youth in the Netherlands develop belonging best when they are first granted belonging by the government. Then they can work to achieve belonging in their communities through a combination of bonding and bridging social capital. It is the responsibility of the NGOs to encourage the leadership and empowerment aspects of agency among displaced youth. Belonging is most successfully developed when displaced youth can take charge over their own circumstances.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen