In 2023, the City of Milan, Italy, was selected as a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF), the MMC’s instrument to channel international funding directly to cities to implement inclusive projects of their own design.
With support from the GCF, the City of Milan is launching personalized educational and orientation plans for newly arrived migrant and refugee families with children ages zero to six. Using a two-generational approach, the program will introduce personalized early childhood development plans and access to preschool and daycare services for children while providing their caregivers with language courses and cultural orientation workshops.
The city of Milan is home to more than 120,000 migrants and refugees. Around twenty percent of the city’s population is foreign born. Milan’s migrant community, especially children and their caregivers, often struggle to access essential services. For example, a lack of documentation and social support networks can hinder migrants’ access to education and stable employment.
As migrant and displaced children gain asylum and/or are reunited with their families, they exit the national process and are often left without follow-on support to secure their socio-economic inclusion in the city. The city has a role to fill this gap for asylees, particularly in ensuring their proper development and education at a young age.
With the support of the GCF, Milan will enhance its reception for migrant children and their caregivers by providing them with personalized educational and psychosocial services. The First Steps in Milan project will focus on families with children aged zero to six, especially recently reunified families or those who have recently been granted asylum in Italy.
Through the project, these families will have access to a team of education, psycho-pedagogical and neuropsychiatric experts who will define personalized educational plans for their children. These experts will also support children’s enrollment into existing educational services, including Milan’s school system. Children in the program will also participate in creative workshops and visit local playgrounds.
While children participate in early childhood education and care services, the project will provide caregivers job readiness, job placement, and Italian language courses. Caregivers will also attend workshops on how to access essential educational, health, and social services.
In implementing First Steps in Milan, the Comune di Milano is building its capacity to deliver early childhood development services to migrant families. The city is training its education and social affairs service providers to better assess the needs of and carry out activities with the target groups; enhancing the cooperation between the Welfare, Health and Education Departments of Milan, and promoting the long-term socioeconomic inclusion of migrant families by taking a two-generational approach focused on both children and caregivers.
Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, Italy
In our city, over 20% of the population is foreign residents…With the [GCF] Milan aims to further improve the provision of services dedicated to early childhood.
Stay tuned for more impact updates at the end of Milan’s GCF grant term!