Redefining empowerment interventions of migrants experiencing poverty : the case of Antwerp, Belgium
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
British journal of social work. - London
, p. 105-122
University of Antwerp
This qualitative research examines the strategies migrants experiencing poverty develop to access social rights and services. We conducted thirty-five in-depth interviews with Moroccan and Turkish migrants experiencing poverty in the city of Antwerp, Belgium. These interviews resulted in a typology of migrants in poverty based on the methods they use to empower themselves and influence their environment. The determining factors that influence these different strategies are directly linked to the accessibility of social work practices. Therefore, we evaluated local public and social work policies based on what motivates the different typologies of migrants experiencing poverty. Our findings confirm the importance of collaboration between organisations involved in empowerment interventions for migrants experiencing poverty on the local level and the need for reshaping local coalitions in social work practice. We consider the long-term success of integration courses for newcomers, especially the impact they have on the accessibility of social work practices. We also note serious weaknesses concerning language policies in social services, as well as the shame and denial of poverty by clients due to their migration background or the social pressure of their community. Finally, the role of civil society organisations in poverty eradication is questioned.