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10/6/2014 - Italy - VIS and SCS join forces to respond to the needs of migrants

(ANS – Rome)– The NGO VIS (Volunteers for International Development) and the SCS (Civil and Social Services) Federation met on 29 May last and agreed to coordinate initiatives for migrants who arrive in their thousands on the Sicilian coasts. These two Salesian bodies want to are develop an action plan with several medium and long term proposals to strengthen their existing activities and start new ones in order to respond to other needs.

According to Nico Lotta, president of  VIS, "The classical division between NGOs implementing aid programmes in countries of the South, and Onlus that deals with the poor and migrants in Italy, is a division that is no longer capable of responding effectively to situations of poverty. North and South are becoming less distinct, more and more intermingled. The centre and the peripheries of the world do not always have clear geographic boundaries."

"More and more migrants are coming into our country and therefore we are called upon to deal with issues related to their reception. We are going to do this together with the SCS Federation, studying and carrying out projects involving both the host Salesian communities in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, and the communities of origin in those countries where the Salesians are present. Our first partner is the SCS with whom we hope to develop a joint approach. They have been working for years in welcoming migrants and, more generally, helping people in situations of marginalization and hardship. In this context, VIS acknowledges the good work of its Regional Committees in setting up welcoming communities, in close collaboration with other Salesian agencies in the area."

The President of the SCS, Fr Giovanni D'Andrea declared himself satisfied and confident: "What matters to us most is the situation of unaccompanied minors. Some of them are constantly wandering in search of hope. This can also pose a risk to their safety, because they are easily recruited by unscrupulous persons for illegal purposes. Their dignity is affronted and their rights trampled upon. Our organization has asked the entities that manage the thirty-two Family Homes to strengthen their facilities for the reception of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors."

Fr D’Andrea went on: "Another initiative is to work in close collaboration with VIS to set up new organizations for the reception of migrants. It is important to have an organization to coordinate the many initiatives that we already have in Italy and in the world.  To do this we depend on the generosity of the many friends of Don Bosco in Italy and beyond."

The next meeting of the joint organization will be held in Rome on June 19.

Published  10/06/2014

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