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Making a living : a participatory action research project on the livelihood building strategies of refugees Huminuik, Kirby Leigh

Abstract

This study used Participatory Action Research practices to articulate the strategies refugees used to rebuild their livelihoods in Vancouver, British Columbia. Strategies were clustered under eight headings: establishing safety, improving English language fluency, building a social support network, using social services, seeking initial Canadian employment, increasing job satisfaction, accessing training and further education, personal coping strategies. Throughout the interview process, refugee participants also described the problems they confronted while attempting to rebuild. Problems included extreme financial precariousness, low self-efficacy related to refugee status, and systemic barriers to employment. A working group comprised of refugees met to prioritize the problems and suggest recommendations to refugee communities, service providers and policy makers. These recommendations will lead to communicative and exploratory actions in the form of dissemination of information, advocacy, and community building.

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