The Association was founded on 16 November 1990, thanks to the initiative of Father Benvenuto Mendeni SJ, a Jesuit missionary who arrived directly to Padua from Chad to cover the role of Director of the Antonianum Youth Center. The sensitivity of the people he met was the fertile ground the Association grew from and soon the founding nucleus received the first signals of migratory pressure in the city, above all from North African countries. With the support of a group of young people from the Student Missionary League, which in August that year had taken part in a work camp in Burkina Faso, the Association embarked on the adventure we are still part of today.
From the simple desire to help migrants in difficulty, over time the Association has arrived at specifically receiving political refugees and international protection holders. Popoli Insieme subsequently became part of the territorial network of the Astalli Center in Rome (Jesuit Refugee Service), whose mission is valuing everyone’s contribution, advancing common projects, working together throughout the entire national territory on similar objectives and aspiring to the same values. By now, collaboration has been consolidated concerning cultural projects, in particular those involving students in schools and raising awareness in society on the topics of common interest. However, the network also allows experimenting new projects of first and second level welcoming, transferring the experience of those who have been involved in the service longer in different contexts.