SPAIN: New initiative provides shelter and social development services for young refugees in Madrid and Seville
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have launched another initiative in Spain to help vulnerable young refugees. A new program has been developed in Madrid and Seville by the Pinardi Federation of Salesian Social Platforms and the Don Bosco Foundation. The program, which has been funded by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, is aimed at assisting young refugees between the ages of 18 and 26.
By the end of 2018, the Salesian program is estimated to assist 40 young people across five shelters. The first 14 young refugees are currently transferring into homes. In Seville, there is an apartment that already houses four minors from Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Syria. In Madrid, 10 young people from countries such as Afghanistan and Syria will live in two apartments donated by the Daughters of Charity.
“These two apartments, and we are hoping to add more, are a response from the Church, small but hopeful, to answer the call from Pope Francis to open our hearts and our intentions to refugees,” said Father Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, the Salesian Provincial of Madrid.
Salesian staff have already begun planning for new arrivals. A Salesian educator at the program notes, “The first young person at the house was Mohamad. He speaks English and Arabic. He arrived at his first home in two years with nothing but a bag with three t-shirts. He already knows the neighborhood and also three of his future roommates.”
The new program provides a complete service team of seven people who will take care of all the needs of the young refugees, helping them to integrate into their new community. The program provides shelter, nutrition, and education and skills training, as well as other wrap-around services the youth might need as they settle into their new homes.
Salesian centers across Spain serve more than 25,000 migrants and refugees through 40 projects and with the help of 60 professionals and 200 volunteers. Salesian missionaries and their network of programs across Europe are assisting European countries with the ongoing refugee crisis. Salesian programs provide humanitarian and educational assistance to refugees by helping them become fully-integrated and independent within their new countries and homes.
Since its inception in 2001, the Pinardi Federation has been developing programs to help poor youth between the ages of 12 and 16 and is currently operating close to 40 projects aiding more than 2,000 youth. Projects focus on promoting the quality of children’s lives, helping youth retain employment and supporting migrants through family mediation. Other community projects work to raise awareness of volunteerism.
For its youth employment projects, the Pinardi Federation develops training programs that collaborate directly with the business sector so that students learn marketable skills and make an easier transition from coursework into employment. It encourages the business community to take an active role in program development, as well as meeting with students to help shape standards and students’ academic and social development, ensuring greater opportunities for employment after graduation.
World Bank – Spain