Embracing refugees

  • For whom: 8 ADULTS - 10 CHILDREN
  • What you can do: SUPPORT US WITH 10€ A MONTH

Title of the project

Embracing refugees

Place of the action

The Diocese of Reggio Emilia, Italy

Description of the context

Following the appeal of Pope Francesco, the Caritas of Reggio Emilia decided to participate in a project implemented by the Pope John XXIII Community of Rimini and the Community of Sant’Egidio. The project is focused on embracing  Syrian families who have lived for years in tents in Lebanon refugee camps.

The project

The project has been developed with the Italian Minister of Interior and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, through the support of the Community of Sant’Egidio in order to create an alternative system for embracing some families due to their precarious situation. We designed this project to create a valuable and legal system for refugees as an alternative to the illegal routes by sea promoted by traffickers of human beings. A humanitarian corridor to Italy was created, that will allow 70 people to reach various Italian cities safely. Our city, Reggio Emilia, will host 5 families closely related to each other, specifically:

– 1st family: two adults, a child and a pregnant woman
– 2nd family: two adults, four children and a pregnant woman
– 3rd family: two adults and two children
– 4th family: two adults and three children
– 5th family: two adults

In total, the Diocesi of Reggio Emilia will host and accommodate 10 adults and 12 children (including unborn children).

The general objective is to welcome the Syrian families and to encourage positive relationships and their inclusion within the community, as well as promote the families’ self-sufficiency.
To achieve all of that, the following activities will be carried out:

– Children will attend school
– Volunteers will support the after-school activities for children
– Adults will follow literacy courses
– Adults’ skills will be rated and evaluated for internships
– Adults will be supported in job search
– Families will be sustained in obtaining humanitarian/refugee status residence permit
– Volunteers will support families in constructing social relationships within the hosting community

Our partner in action is Caritas of Reggio Emilia.

Achieved results

Since the beginning, the project has made great progress, but at the same time, further efforts are required to fully achieve our objectives. The members of the families living in Italy have obtained refugees residence permits for five years: all members have completed their registration to the National Health Service and a general practitioner or a paediatrician have been assigned to them. They have made different medical checks: pregnancy checks, vaccinations for children, dental care checks, and so on. ANLADI volunteers accompanied them during the visits. As for the process of integration of Syrian families, significant progress has been made but some critical issues remain. For example, the inclusion of school-age children is excellent: they attend school, they are fluent in Italian and they have now many friends.The inclusion of adults is more complex, both in terms of language and economic self-sufficiency. Their knowledge of Italian is still inadequate: therefore, ANLADI is supporting their learning through home-based lessons (two hours a week) held by a bilingual cultural mediator (Arabic and Italian).
The achievement of economic self-sufficiency is not possible for the two elderly parents, for whom a work placement cannot be envisaged. On the contrary, younger adults are working in local companies.