“Such Cases” and Civic Assistance Committee on International Migrant Day complete the cycle of myths about foreigners living in Russia. HSE anthropologist Yekaterina Demintseva, an associate professor at the Higher School of Economics, explains why there are more migrant children in schools and why this trend is positive for Russian society.
The number of migrant children in schools is increasing, simply because more families settle in Russia and it is important for them that the child joins society, and will not feel like a stranger. This is rather a positive trend. If migrant parents bring a child to Russia, then they are more likely to work here legally, plan to acquire citizenship, and so on.
It is rare that there are schools which have many children of migrants. Many are, say, up to a quarter of a grade in elementary school or three or four people in high school. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the stereotype that these are children who do not speak Russian is not true. The majority of course speak Russian. Many were born in Russia.
For a child from a migrant family, school is not only a quick language learning tool, but it provides integration into the environment of the host society. School is the main tool for the adaptation of migrant children in the host country. If a child cannot go to school, as a rule, they remain at home, excluded from the society that surrounds him. The experience of many countries shows that it is the school that is the most effective adaptation tool. A person does not feel like a stranger, does not feel like an alien, and therefore, does not need to be on the opposite side of society. The child not only receives education, but also integrates into the life of the school first, and then the city and the country as a whole.
For over 30 years, Committee of Civic Assistance has been helping migrants who find themselves in difficult situations. At the end of 2011, human rights defenders launched the Hate Crimes project where the organization provides free legal and humanitarian assistance to victims of violent hate crimes.