Embracing refugees

  • Where: REGGIO EMILIA, ITALIA
  • What we do: EMBRACING TO SYRIAN FAMILIES
  • 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 by the Pope John XXIII Community of Rimini and the Community of Sant’Egidio. The project is foused on embracing Syrian families who have lived for four years in tents in the refugee camps based in Lebanon.

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 in order to create a valuable and legal system for refugees in opposition with the illegal routes by sea promoted by traffickers of human beings. Therefore, it was decided to create a humanitarian channel to Italy that will allow 70 people to reach Italy safely: these people will reach various Italian cities. 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 aims at fostering a positive hospitality of the Syrian families in the community in order to create positive relationships and to build self-sufficiency of the refugees’ families. The specific objectives are:
– 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 residence permit for request for asylum
– Volunteers will support families in constructing social relationships within the hosting community

At the beginning, families will be taught Italian language and will be supported in their request for residence permits and for political asylum. Later on, adults and children will create positive relationships that will enable them to rebuild their lives and to feel welcomed by the community. We expect that adults will find work that will enable them to achieve economic autonomy.

Our partner in the action is Caritas of Reggio Emilia.

Achieved results

Since the beginning of the project, various results have been achieved: however, a further effort is required if we want to fully achieve the objectives of our intervention.
The members of the four family living in Italy have obtained a refugees residence permit for five years: all members have completed their registration to the National Health Service and a medical doctor 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 health checks .
As for what concerns 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.