2014 WAS AN IMPORTANT YEAR FOR POPOLI INSIEME
The migration phenomenon intensified and as an Association we felt called to action. Therefore, we decided to take the course of receiving international protection seekers and in August we inaugurated the first two apartments.
As an Association, we were already managing a second welcoming in the city, in our historic center in via Tiziano Minio. This new need led us to build a structure to face the different needs of people arriving in Italy for the first time.
The first welcoming experience grew over time, both in numbers (guests and volunteers) and integrated activities and contacts with the territory. With various apartments spread out in and around Padua, we host people coming from Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Morocco, Guinea, Nigeria and Gambia) and from Pakistan, both men and nuclear families.
WHO AND WITH WHICH PHILOSOPHY
Four operators, a coordinator and a mediator work daily on the welcoming project and the integration of the children. The team benefits from the supervision of a psychologist who supports the implementation of activities, participates in formulating the IWP (Individualized Welcoming Project) and offers consultation in case of possible difficulties and complex situations. The IWP is a tool to guide the education and integration projects of each guest. The IWP defines, together with the guest, some objectives in the identified areas (learning Italian, professional training, work, autonomy, social insertion, empowerment); objectives that are periodically checked by the team and the guest.
We believe that each project starts with the individual and human relationships, we base each action and reasoning on the values of respect and reciprocity. Over the years, commitment and care have been rewarded with small and great satisfaction, building bridges reinforced by time.
In fact, the formula of micro-welcoming entails that each structure hosts a limited number of people, who, in our case, are no more than six. In this way, despite the constant presence of the operators, people are able to live independently, working together for a fruitful and effective interaction with society at the end of their welcoming.
The services we offer our guests include:
- Language training: through the local Provincial Centers for Adult Education and/or courses offered by associations such as Unica Terra or individual teachers; this is the starting point on each beneficiary’s path to being integrated in the country that received them.
- Linguistic mediation and facilitation: while they are being inserted in literacy courses, we provide our guests with the possibility of communicating more rapidly with the operators thanks to mediators with years of experience in the field.
- Information services on immigration laws and legal assistance: after an introductory session on international protection rights, our team prepares guests for a hearing before the Territorial Commission, supported by a lawyer specialized in immigration law, and if the request for protection is rejected, we help the guest interface with the lawyer following the appeal in court.
- Healthcare orientation: apart from guaranteeing access to healthcare services, we work until our guests can correctly use the services on their own and are able to fully manage the bureaucratic paperwork tied to the Italian healthcare system.
- Housing orientation: as with healthcare, the ability to provide for one’s housing is also handled by the operators, who inform and teach guests about their possibilities.
- Job orientation path: operators and volunteers provide information about job placement and deal with, in agreement with the guests, finding possible training and professional opportunities, preparing their CV with them, teaching them to find job ads in line with their profile and much more. Moreover, guests receive training based on the different types of work contracts, possible job search channels and how to interview for a job.
- Orientation to the territory: what seems obvious to many is a subject of continuous learning for our beneficiaries. Thanks to operators and volunteers, they are guided on a discovery of the territory, accompanied from the start in carrying out bureaucratic work and monitored until they reach full autonomy.
- The constant presenceof operators to supervise, coordinate, mediate domestic situations or, more simply, to share the tiny joys and hardships of daily life.
Joining professionalism and competence with a human approach based on listening and open to debate, we organize personalized training courses for our guests. Each course includes numerous “collateral” activities and services:
- Support from volunteers in studying Italian and language exchanges;
- Computer training;
- Gardening in the community vegetable gardens and other forms of volunteer work in the territory;
- Sports activities, mainly organized in structures and parks in Padua;
- Recreational and social occasions (dinners, watching sporting events, excursions, etc.).
Working in small groups allows creating strong bonds with guests and strengthening their relationship with the surrounding territory, therefore facilitating virtuous paths and mutual enrichment.
At the same time, the volunteers at Popoli Insieme, who work alongside the welcoming operators, are priceless for us. We see volunteering as an authentic form of active citizenship where each individual assumes their responsibility and takes on a people’s human, social and cultural growth and as a result that of all humanity. Coming together, sharing goals and coming up with ways and timeframes for reaching them is a social and civil commitment: it leads to interior growth through developing new skills, building new relationships and participating in shared projects.
The volunteers at Popoli Insieme work in coordination with the operators and always look after our guests’ wellbeing, highlighting how important the synergy of professional competences and human relationships is for quality welcoming.