June 20 marked the fifth anniversary of the Scalabrinian shelter based in Via Casilina. On Monday, June 22 at 11.30 a celebration moment took place through a virtual connection with many of those who made this reality possible.
Rome, June 23, 2020 – It was June 20, 2015, when the first guest crossed the threshold of Casa Scalabrini 634. “On that day the concrete and punctual response of the Europe-Africa Region of the Scalabrinan Missionaries to the call to welcome that Pope Francis had also addressed to us became a reality during the summer of 2015,” remembers Fr. Gioacchino Campese, General Director of Casa Scalabrini 634. “What had been the formation house of the religious Scalabrinian students has turned into a house rooted in the territory where the culture of encounter becomes reality, becomes flesh, generating human relationships between people who are refugees, migrants or Italians. Thus the community is gradually built up, and with the talents of all, following the itinerary of the four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate, ” adds Fr. Campese.
For this reason, on June 22nd at 11.30 am the live Facebook and YouTube connection with Casa Scalabrini 634 was launched. Participants of the virtual event were Fr. Fabio Baggio (DSSUI Migrants and Refugees Section), Fr. Camillo Ripamonti (Centro Astalli), and Andrea Zampetti (UPS). They were joined by some testimonials from workers and guests of the shelter.
Another key point of the success of Casa Scalabrini 634 was the young team that for 5 years has been carrying out the initial idea with passion and dedication. “We are a heterogeneous group, but for this reason, we work well,” says Emanuele Selleri, Executive Director of the program. “In the neighborhood we are open and transparent neighbors, offering anyone who knocks on the door multiple opportunities to come and see the daily life we live within our walls. Today we can say that we are an active part of the neighborhood, recognized and respected for the sign, perhaps small, that we give together with our folks. From the beginning, we were supported by the solid network created before physically opening the doors of the structure. We immediately shared the originality of the program, because what we were starting seemed to us, and we are still convinced of it, the right synthesis to fill the “gray zone” of the reception system in Italy. With us, no one is a foreigner, or rather each of us is a bit of a foreigner for someone else, and for this reason, any event or initiative that takes place at the shelter is always open to everyone.”
In the first five years, Casa Scalabrini 634 welcomed 196 people, including some families with minors, for a time ranging from 6 months to a year, adequate time to allow the person to recover their autonomy and “regain strength” and the means necessary to face a new life in Italy. Apart from an occupation, whether initial or stable, the days of those who live in Casa Scalabrini 634 are also filled by the active collaboration in the management of the shelter, as well as by the presence of many volunteers who, with their availability, offer training opportunities or personal relationship. All this makes the sense of “home” that the structure bears in its name ever more authentic. To these numbers, in the first five years, the 11,500 people who participated in awareness-raising events and 1,500 for specific training were added.