SPAIN: BoscoSocial projects help migrants access training and social support in their new communities
(MissionNewswire) BoscoSocial brings together the work of three organizations impacting communities in Spain. These organizations are the Boscos Foundation, which has projects in Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja and Cantabria; the JuanSoñador Foundation’s projects in Galicia, Asturias, and Castile and León; and the Pinardi Federation, which has projects in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha.
BoscoSocial projects focus on training and support and have impacted more than 14,000 children, adolescents and youth at risk of social exclusion. Nearly 1,400 families have been assisted thanks to the work of more than 400 educators and contract workers and more than 230 volunteers. Among the various programs supported by BoscoSocial are programs tailored specifically for migrants. These initiatives include training, social support and connection with the local labor market.
Abdalah, a 24-year-old Palestinian migrant from a refugee camp in Lebanon, took part in one of the Pinardi Federation’s projects in Madrid. Helped by educators, Abdalah is now taking many steps forward in life to seek employment. He is better integrated into his new community.
In Galicia, the JuanSoñador Foundation facilitates the Malaikas project, which is for women between 19-75 years of age who are at risk of social exclusion and in situations of vulnerability. In 2019, more than 650 women of 45 nationalities participated. The Malaikas project aims to break the isolation of migrant women, provides meeting spaces, and creates circles, networks and alliances, which encourage the empowerment of women to face their life plans within the migration process.
Salesian missionaries also offer housing for migrants in need. In Bilboa, the Boscos Foundation launched the Zuen Etxean project, which offers refuge and support to young people in situations of vulnerability through shared housing within a Salesian community.
“For these young people, this time with us is like an oasis in which they can take their life and decisions more calmly, and continue to fight for that dream which, for various reasons, they could not fulfill in their places of origin or that they did not see as feasible while they were there, and that now, from afar and after other experiences, some see that they can indeed face it, even in another way,” said a Salesian missionary engaged in the project.
Salesian centers in Spain operate close to 50 vocational and technical training centers that employ 1,300 teachers and offer 17,000 students a chance to gain an education. All Salesian centers have the support of companies from a variety of business sectors to give students real-world work experience.
Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain face inequality in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential and technical and vocational training programs.
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Salesian Missions – Spain
World Bank – Spain