The Waldensian Diaconia has always been engaged in projects for asylum seekers and refugees. During the past year within the 1 € PER project, this activity has been extended to include boys and girls, children and adolescents, who arrive without an adult of reference and are often inserted into systems of exploitation and servitude.
Currently, there are three projects dedicated to minors: one in Vittoria, in Sicily, and two in Florence.
In Vittoria, at the request of the prefecture of Ragusa, we transformed the Extraordinary Reception Centre (CAS) for adults managed by the Waldensian Diaconia into a CAS for unaccompanied minors. The minors were identified at the hot spot in Pozzallo, transferred to a safe place and then to Vittoria. In 2016, 20 girls were guests. Most were from Nigeria, but there were also girls from Eritrea and Sudan who had crossed the desert to reach Libya, from where they sailed to reach the Italian coast. There is a team of educators, mediators, psychologists and lawyers to assist them and sustain them as they conceive a new project for life.
There are two highly autonomous structures in Florence managed by the Florentine Waldensian Diaconia: Nautilus Benci and Nautilus Puccini.
The Nautilus Benci was founded following participation in a SPRAR tender in partnership with the Municipality of Florence and other associations active in the territory of Florence. The 4 girls hosted there now are all Nigerian and came from the CAS of Palermo. Initially, the girls were completely autonomous. Only later, thanks to a grant from the Municipality of Florence, it was possible to activate a series of services that would protect the interests of the minors and guarantee the activation of necessary support to allow them to construct a path of integration that would substract them from the mechanisms of exploitation. In addition to hospitality, the girls are now following a course to learn the Italian language, that will prepare them for the middle school exam. They are also followed by a team of educators, psychologists and lawyers, they participate in weekly sport or recreational activities and also follow a dressmaking course, thanks to two volunteers of the Florentine Waldensian Church.
Nautilus Puccini, activated by a regional resolution, hosts 12 boys, mostly Albanians and Kosovans, in two apartments. Their average age is 17, which creates many obstacles for a medium-term programme. The law in Italy provides that upon reaching the age of maturity (18 years), the boys must be moved to structures for adults. As a structure with a high degree of autonomy, the presence of an operator is guaranteed for 6 hours per day, and the presence of a contact person during the night.
With the 1€ Per project the Waldensian Houses assist unaccompanied foreign minors. Help us with a donation of your own.
You can contribute directly with a donation via bank transfer:
Address it to “Commissione Sinodale per la Diaconia”
SWIFT/BIC CODE: BCITITMX
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