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Your organisation – In order to be a guide for the whole youth sector in promoting intercultural youth work, the “12 Steps” uses the term ‘your organisation’ to refer to all youth projects, clubs and services within the youth work sector in Ireland.


  • Asylum Seeker -a person seeking to be granted protection as a refugee outside their country of origin, and is awaiting the determination of his/her status (See below: Refugee).  In Ireland, the asylum process is a legal system which decides who actually qualifies as a refugee and is then entitled to remain in Ireland. Those judged not to be refugees can be deported. If a child under 18 years arrives in Ireland without parents or guardians, and seeks asylum, he/she is called a ‘Separated Child Seeking Asylum’.
  • Charter –aCode of Practice or Group Contract
  • Direct Provision –  accommodation provided to asylum seekerswhile their asylum claim is being processed in Ireland. Direct Provision Centres are located nationwide. In direct provision, asylum seekers are provided with accommodation and food, but with little privacy or independence. Asylum seekers receive €19.10 per week per adult, and €9.60 per child to cover essential items such as toiletries and travel.
  • Ethnic Identifier –a question on a person’s background which can be included on your organisation’s membership form or asked in an interview. It includes information on nationality, ethnicity, place of birth, family background, and native language(s). It is helpful in planning adequately for the particular needs of young people in your group. It is good practice to ask the nationality or ethnic identity of the young person, and of their parent(s)/guardian(s)/primary caregiver(s).
  • Interculturalism - recognises that ethnic and cultural diversity can enrich our society. This approach implies the development of policies that promote communication, understanding and integration between different cultures and ethnic groups. In multiculturalism, difference is accepted but not necessarily valued, and there is no acknowledgement of the need to interact with others. Assimilation promotes the absorption of all into the dominant culture, seeing difference as a source of conflict and making minority cultures as invisible as possible.
  • Mainstreaming – refers to the integration and embedding of a particular issue into all aspects of an organisation’s policy and practice. In the “12 Steps” guide, the issue is interculturalism.  Mainstreaming often refers to incorporating needs and issues of a particular into a general service or system, and essentially means an overhaul of how we have been doing things in the past, to include a new perspective in all we do. Mainstreaming interculturalism requires the adoption of an intercultural ‘mindset’ in all we do, and assumes that the goal of all youth work should be the integration of diverse cultural groups, within the organisation itself and in the wider community.
  • Minority Ethnic background – in the “12 Steps” we refer to engaging with people from minority ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The ethnicity in question refers to the background of the young person and not necessarily how they identify themselves. Do not assume someone else’s ethnicity or describe them by your own definition of who they are – simply ask them how they like to be described. Often, people prefer to identify themselves by more complex or mixed ethnicities, for example, Polish-Irish, Irish-Nigerian, Indian-Irish, etc.
  • Networking –this means building relationships with all stakeholders. This should include community and religious leaders, families and existing networks of minority ethnic groups, as well as schools, religious institutions, community services and other youth work organisations. Look for opportunities to meet communities and parents, and work with other local groups. 
  • Refugee – a person who has had to leave their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution because of reasons including their ethnicity, religion, nationality, or political opinion.Ireland is a signatory to the “1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees”, which obliges us to provide protection to people fleeing their country for the reasons above. Refugees are entitled to apply for ‘family reunification’ to bring their immediate family members (within certain criteria) to Ireland.
  • ‘Separated Child Seeking Asylum’ - previously called ‘unaccompanied minor’, this is a child under 18 years who is seeking asylum in Ireland and is not with his/her parents or guardians. These children are in the care of the HSE and can attend school until completing the Leaving Certificate. They are not entitled to free state education beyond secondary school.



UN official definition:  A refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country."