Italian project to host refugees to expand nationwide

Italian project to host refugees to expand nationwide
Italian project to host refugees to expand nationwide

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ROME: A project which has placed 113 refugees, mostly from Syria and the Horn of Africa, with Italian families in five cities since 2019 is to expand nationwide.

The NGO Refugees Welcome Italia said the project, called “From Experiences to Model: Family Stays as a Path of Integration,” would expand thanks to a future collaboration with ANCI, the Italian national association of municipalities,.

The project was launched in 2019 in Rome, Palermo, Bari, Ravenna and Macerata. Rome’s Tor Vergata University offered its expertise and even allowed some refugees to work there as part of the program.

Even though the family-stay model is not entirely new in Italy, the version proposed by RWI has innovative elements.

The project’s organisers explain it is built on the involvement of trained, active citizens, and structured in groups of local activists who act as a “community garrison.”

The organizers say that dialogue with local administrations has led to the creation of a “Register of Family Stays” sponsored by the municipalities of Ravenna and Bari, and also officially approved by the municipality of Rome.

The register represents “the most advanced tool in terms of policy to obtain the structured involvement of active citizens in family reception, as well as other forms of community help and support: A tool that helps to overcome fragmentation in civil society (foster care, voluntary guardians, supporting families) and creates an unequivocal administrative procedure and a shared work model,” RWI said in a press conference attended by Arab News.

In three years, 90 percent of the refugees involved have gained full financial independence. There are 754 families registered in the project’s areas ready to host refugees.

Tor Vergata University developed tools for assessing the project’s social impact. The results of the survey showed that for every euro invested in the host family project, €3.01 were generated.

“We hope that in the future the family stay experience will remain not only a good practice tested locally, but can become a policy and a governance tool at the national level,” Fabiana Musicco, director of RWI, said.

“This way we will be able to allow more refugees who come to Italy to find a better future, more chances to build a new life here.”

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