4.22 million people with a migration background live in the Netherlands, including refugees, economic migrants, and displaced people. Many of the real people behind the statistics started their migration story with extreme obstacles. Some had their homes obliterated by earthquakes, others were hounded for their identity, more still fled violence and war.
But the story of obstacles does not end in the Netherlands. On top of physical and mental health issues, many newcomers face pervasive discrimination, racism, and bureaucratic challenges. Because of this difficulty, integration can take many years.
Their problems are common: language-barriers, cultural differences, and unfamiliarity with the legal system. Traditionally, local authorities have tried to solve these issues, controlling resources like access to housing, social assistance, and education.
But the shuffling and reshuffling of state aid and departments, as well as a lack of a human-centred approach, has left many newcomers without support. Finding employment is one of the biggest challenges — with first and second generation immigrants making up 35.4% of the unemployed, compared to the 4.9% of native born jobseekers.
How charities are stepping up
To create a kinder society, many local charities have stepped in where the state falls short. Organisations across the Netherlands are providing better access to public services, promoting cultural sensitivity, and helping newcomers find work and life satisfaction.
A crucial element to this is fostering connections between the three main groups of immigrants: native-borns, long-standing migrants, and newcomers. These connections — as well as those with sympathetic NGO staff — can make all the difference.
Having a community of people who understand your unique struggles and challenges has helped many newcomers feel more at home. Studies have found that leisure activities vastly improve mental health and integration, another issue addressed by local charities.
A second contributor to local charities’ success has been partnerships and cross-pollination. Each organisation solves a unique problem faced by newcomers, and together they form a holistic solution to integration difficulties in the Netherlands.
The most effective way to help
A holistic approach works. That’s why Kinder has stepped in to join top performing charities with the Newcomer Integration in the Netherlands United Action. By enabling donors to donate to several solutions at once, all in a single donation, charities’ urgent work is pushed forward. Although much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
Charities found in this United Action include UAF, who help refugees find employment, Welcome App, which connects newcomers to the the people and information they need to thrive, and Forward·Inc, who help newcomers start their own business.
You can learn more about these amazing people and projects on the Newcomer Integration in the Netherlands United Action page.
To give much-needed help to these 5 reliable charities, click the donate button below.