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SPAIN: Salesian Social Platforms provides programs for unaccompanied minors who are seeking shelter and employment

SPAIN

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Social Platforms, which is run by the Salesian Pinardi Federation, has programs in Spain to help vulnerable unaccompanied minors. Many countries around the globe have been grappling with an influx of children and adolescents who have fled their home countries in search of safety, employment and a better way of life. However, many youth find that life in a new country, where they are at greater risk of social isolation, poverty and violence, is not any easier than the life they left behind.

Requests for asylum from people who are fleeing their homeland continued to increase exponentially in Spain in 2019. In 2019, 118,264 asylum applications were received, according to data from the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid. However, only 3,156 were granted, equal to one in 20 applications.

In Spain, more than 133,000 people currently live in uncertainty as their applications are pending. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also worsened the situation because processing procedures slowed down or stopped in some areas. During this time, Salesian Social Platforms has continued to work to house and provide support for those seeking protection.

Salesian Social Platforms primarily supports children, adolescents and older youth, many of whom are alone in Spain for the first time. In fact, of the 118,264 asylum applications submitted in 2019, 22,373 were from minors under age 18, whose situation is especially vulnerable.

Salesian Social Platforms has a program for youth who are 18 to 26 years old, which is funded by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, the European Social Fund, and by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. For these refugees, their age makes them even more vulnerable because they are alone without a family support network in a new country. They are also challenged to find employment.

During 2019 and in the first part of 2020, 76 youth were supported by Salesian Social Platforms. These youth come to a Salesian reception center to learn or improve their knowledge of the language and to receive training to find a job. A staff person from Salesian Social Platforms said, “We are concerned that the personal, educational and work process of young people is not taken into account in the resolution of international protection.”

Salesian centers across Spain employ 60 professionals and 200 volunteers to serve more than 25,000 migrants and refugees through 40 projects. 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 in 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.

The Pinardi Federation’s youth employment projects include training programs that collaborate directly with the business sector so that students learn marketable skills to ease the transition from coursework into employment. These programs also encourage the business community to take an active role in program development as well as meet with students to help shape their academic and social development, ensuring greater opportunities for employment after graduation.

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Sources:

ANS Photos (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS – Spain – Salesian social platforms focus on situation of refugees in context of social deterioration

Salesian Missions – Spain

World Bank – Spain

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