Scalabrinians and Refugee Emergency: A Second Welcoming Center Opens in the South of Italy

On Tuesday August 23rd, 2016 the first guests arrived in the new C.A.R.A. SCALABRINI, site Siponto (FG), promoted by the Scalabrini Missionaries and the Scalabrinian Agency for Development Cooperation (ASCS), in continuity with the structure already opened in Rome for the third reception. The building, in dialogue with the Prefecture, can accommodate 33 asylum seekers in a structure adjacent to the current religious house and it was once the seminar for middle school students.

Fr. Pio Finizio, Director of the structure and of the Migrants Office for the Diocese of Manfredonia, Vieste and San Giovanni Rotondo, points out that “the project, in constant dialogue with the representatives appointed by the State, will put at the center of the attention each individual persons received and it will ensure the 33 guests climate as familiar as possible, thing to be built patiently with the precious operators working alongside us. ”

The type of welcoming center“, adds Fr. Gianni Borin, regional superior of the missionaries operating in Europe and Africa, “will be the one that takes place just when migrants arrive in our country, that is a C.A.R.A., ie the Asylum Seekers Welcoming Centre, a structure in which migrants are welcomed, seeking the international protection. We guarantee their accommodation, meals, legal and medical aid, the interpreter and the psycho-social services throughout their stay which is variable, however, and not quantifiable. ”

In C.A.R.A. SCALABRINI migrants, who currently come from Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cameroon may remain for the time required for one of the ten regional committees responsible for examining applications for asylum, examine their request for international protection. “The stay of every guest should be, we hope, limited to the time strictly necessary to the next step, ie the transfer to the second/third reception structures, as is the case of House Scalabrini 634 in Rome, for effective inclusion and integration“, added Fr. Pio Finizio.

After migration flows seeing italians emigrating towards Europe and the US, the Siponto territory was beginning, starting from the ’90s, to welcome immigrants from North and Central Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Mali, Senegal) mainly for the tomato harvest. In 2002 the C.A.R.A (Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers) are born and the former NATO air base of Borgo Mezzanone can fit 600-700 seekers, waiting for recognition. Besides them, however, the various “ghettos” begin to grow, overcrowded and where the living conditions are often inhumane, well known to the Media chronicle. Even in these situations for 25 years are at work, in repeated and varied forms of service, the scalabrinain missionaries are serving through the experience of “IO CI STO” (“I’m in”, which every summer gathers hundreds of young people from Italy and Europe to meet with peers migrants and asylum seekers, forced to leave their country.


Rome, August 29 2016