Welcoming Cities – Italy

WHO: Caritas Ambrosiana and Farsi Prossimo

WHERE: Italy - Milano

Caritas Ambrosiana is an office of the Archiepiscopal Curia of the Diocese of Milan called the Office for the Pastoral Care of Charity - Caritas Ambrosiana, within the Sector for Mission and Charity.  Farsi Prossimo Onlus scs, founded on 29/11/1993, is a type A social cooperative promoted as part of the activities of the Caritas Ambrosiana Foundation with the aim of developing and managing socio-educational services promoted by the Foundation in the diocese of Milan.

THE BEST PRACTICE: Caritas network for inclusion and integration 

Since 2013 Caritas Ambrosiana has been working in the field of reception of unaccompanied migrant children, with a sharp prevalence of male teenagers very close to the age of majority.

During the years, Caritas Ambrosiana and Farsi Prossimo have built a network operating in the territory of the diocese of Milan. A network composed of local parish centres, social cooperatives and other local stakeholders, in close collaboration with the local authorities, and which today is able to offer its services at all stages of the reception of unaccompanied migrant children. From the first reception phase in the structures of the Municipality of Milan to the second reception phase in educational communities, in reception centers included in the National system (SIPROIMI) and in families through foster care.

Starting from a shared assessment of the needs and the necessity to build together adequate responses by enhancing the system resources, the Network has worked actively for:
  • Being part of the reception system (at municipal and national level)
  • Promoting the establishment of small communities in the territory
  • Promoting collaboration between professionals and volunteers
  • Raise awareness of family foster care and other forms of family proximity
  • Focusing attention on the new adults, and the themes of home stability and job placement
  During the e-round table, held on the 12 November 2020, Caritas Ambrosiana and Farisi Prossimo outlined two of the multiple reception services they provide: the reception community IL SEME and the FOSTER CARE  SERVICE. 

From 2018 the community il Seme is strategically located in a central neighborhood of Milan, and it is inserted in the area of the parish of San Pio X  and San Giovanni in Laterano.  This location prove to be a boost factor for young migrants attitude to be open to the context; to answer their desire to communicate and to enhance their internal resources. The Farsi Prossimo equipe welcomed the UASC within the community il Seme  proposing them a set of activities as:
  • neighborhood tours in order to get to know the local community and the people living nearby;
  • UASC's experience in the Tiepolo middle school, getting to know the classes and setting up craft workshops, whose products are then sold in the school.
  • The activity "La finiestra sul cortile" (The window on the yard) a group of peer volunteers who each  week organized playing activities (e.g. football tournaments)
One key component of the project, underlined by all Caritas Ambrosiana and Farsi Prossimo operators has been the engagement of volunteers. They invested significative efforts in proposing different volunteering activities related to the Il Seme community and to engaging relations with the young migrants living there. This effort has been fully repaid since Caritas and Farsi Prossimo can now count on a rich group of volunteers who share their time, competences and interests in  helping the UASC to get closer to the community and to integrate. As said by Matteo Zappa, of Caritas Ambrosiana:
"Speaking of reception and welcoming of migrant children, for us it is essential to include citizenship as well, because a city becomes welcoming if it activates citizenship practices."
  On the other side the Family foster care project started in 2017 with a partnership agreement with the Municipality of Milan. From then in strict cooperation with the local social services Caritas and Farsi Prossimo has worked hard to promote this service, through: 
  • awareness- raising activities;
  • training of operators and families;
  • an individual assessment of families and children,
  • in the event of the foster care project being launched, constant monitoring and support for families and children at every stage of their journey.
It is a challenging and delicate path, but so far people and families who decided to foster care migrant children have proven to be a precious resource as support figures who work alongside the community, but also as caregivers of the children. it is essential that they are part of a network capable of expressing specific skills useful for effective training and accompaniment.
logo fadv The project is coordinated by Fondazione l'Albero della Vita