Berlin, Neukölln District, Germany
Neukölln is a 44.93 km2 area district in the city of Berlin with 392,767 inhabitants. It has a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic population due to the presence of a large number of Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish migrants. ICJA has been active in Neukölln since 2015, the year in which more than 200 migrants arrived in the German capital daily in search of asylum. ICJA operates through the Neukölln Engagement Center, which has become a meeting and information point for institutions, projects, companies and individuals. The centre also allows the various players to learn about the social inclusion activities to support migrants that are being carried out in the area. Current volunteer projects include supporting schools, language training, bicycle repair workshops, meal preparation and distribution as well as housing construction initiatives for the homeless. INVOLVE represents a growth opportunity for the ICJA centre in Neukölln, as it has been operating for years in collaboration with other NGOs and is an ideal hub. ICJA aims to identify further collaborative opportunities for its projects and to provide new opportunities for interaction between neighbourhood residents and migrants.
Berlin, Pankow District, Germany
Pankow is a large Berlin district, spread over 103 km2 with a population of almost 405,000 inhabitants. The area, located in the east of the city, was under GDR (German Democratic Republic) control before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This history helped shape different perceptions of migration compared to the West Berlin areas that were part of the FRG (Federal Republic). ICJA has been operating in this district for many years through the Freizeitzentrum Upsala centre. This centre is an important local base for volunteer activities. It is also an important meeting point for the Pankow administrative district and the six NGOs ICJA collaborates with as part of its refugee activity under the SAWA Programme. The Freizeitszentrum Upsala serves as a recreation centre, organising various cultural and social events to promote daily interaction between migrants and district residents. At the same time, these activities also underline the benefits of peaceful social interaction that respects diversity and strengthens the coexistence between migrants and locals. In cooperation with the INVOLVE project, the Pankow administrative district will be building a new structure to support social development, further enhancing its voluntary projects and local-migrant interaction activities.
Paestum, Campania, Italy
Paestum, in addition to being a famous cultural and tourist destination, is also known for its fertile Piana del Sele, a large completely agricultural area in the province of Salerno. An estimated 2,610 of the 25,000 inhabitants in the municipality of Capaccio Paestum are foreigners. This amounts to 11.44% of the entire population. 300 of these foreigners are housed in reception centres in the area. Legambiente Paestum, in its more than 30 years of activity, has fought to protect the cultural and environmental heritage of the region. It is committed to offering concrete help against intimidating labour practices and social disparity. Among the many initiatives it has put in place are a listening space for migrants at Tower 27 along the wall of the ancient city and activities in local reception centres such as Ortomondo. The latter aim to combine sustainable western agricultural techniques with those of migrants’ home areas. There is also the Ciclofficina, which is managed by two young male asylum seekers. Their collaboration in protecting local heritage, restoring the Argonaut’s Path and maintaining the dune oasis and ancient city walls, has made migrants into true custodians of the local area. Paestum is an ideal Hub for the INVOLVE project, which aims to further strengthen respect for diversity in the community and educate citizens in caring for the area’s natural, historical and cultural riches.
Scicli, Sicily, Italy
The Scicli area, as well as the entire province of Ragusa, has been affected by migratory flows since the 1980s, with migrants coming mainly from Tunisia, Morocco, Albania and Romania. Over the last decade, migrant landings there have increased. For this reason, Legambiente Scicli has launched a series of initiatives to promote migrant inclusion and social development. It is also collaborating with reception centres in the region and Mediterranean Hope’s Casa delle Cultura. The latter is authorised by the Prefecture of Ragusa to work with vulnerable groups. In a short time, Mediterranean Hope has become synonymous with inclusion, reflection and social development, accommodating up to 40 people. In addition to legal help and health care, guests there can take courses to learn Italian and pursue a secondary school qualification. The centre also tracks the entrance of children into kindergarten and/or compulsory schooling. Over the centuries, different migratory flows have always added to the plurality and wealth of Sicily’s culture. The INVOLVE project has therefore found the area to be fully aligned with its ideals: Scicli, a UNESCO city, has always been a human crossroads.
Rovigo, Veneto, Italy
Rovigo is a town of 51,000 inhabitants located in the Polesine of Veneto, between the Adige River in the north and the Po in the south. In Rovigo, foreigners account for 9.62% of the resident population, mainly coming from Romania, China and Albania. After getting a residence permit, asylum seekers there generally move to larger neighbouring cities in search of work, communities, facilities and a place where they can reside. Meanwhile, the lack of available jobs and adequate social services is having a significant impact on the loss of population in rural areas. Legambiente Rovigo has therefore long been promoting the concept of sustainable, welcoming and multi-ethnic cities. The association carries out numerous activities encouraging migrant inclusion, such as the cleaning and maintenance of urban parks and environmental improvement. It also supports sport projects such as Ambientiamoci – qui nessuno è in trasferta! (Let’s settle down – no one here is just passing through) as well as workshops on active citizenship. The INVOLVE project will also strengthen and implement the civil society network which addresses territorial improvement, inclusion and social development.
Communauté de communes du Pays de Saint-Aulaye, France
The Communauté de communes du Pays de Saint-Aulaye, in the department of Dordogne, is composed of six municipalities totalling just under 10,000 inhabitants. These include: St Aulaye-Puymangou, La Roche-Chalais, Parcoul-Chenaud, St Privat en Périgord, St Vincent-Jalmoutiers and Servanches. The territory remains largely rural and is characterised by a high unemployment rate. This impacts the weakest segments of the population who are at greater social risk. The high unemployment levels may, in turn, lead to migrant inclusion efforts being seen in a negative light. The Sem & Vol association, a delegation of Solidarietés Jeunesses, collaborates with PRAHDA (Programme d’accueil et d’hébergement des demandeurs d’asile – Reception and Housing Programme for Asylum Seekers) with the main aims of supporting migrants, providing them with orientation services, helping them toward administrative independence and promoting their access to health care and schools. Sem & Vol also collaborates with the Ami24Ouest association to direct migrant families to services and encourage independence through work, access to education and inclusion in local social networks.
Veynes is a town of 140,000 inhabitants, covering an area of 5,500 km2, and is located in the department of Hautes-Alpes. Its position on the Italian border has made it a transit and reception area for refugees crossing via the dangerous Col de l’Echelle route, which is 1,760 meters above sea level. According to data from the Tous Migrants organisation, more than 5,000 people arrived at the solidarity shelter in Briançon within this region in 2018. In 2017, the Prefecture rejected 1,900 people crossing at the Italian border compared to 315 in 2016. This situation has created a climate of strong social tension between the local population, who are eager to help migrants, and local authorities, who are responsible for rejecting them. The LesVillagesDesJeunes association, one of the eight regional delegations of Solidarités Jeunesses, has participated in migrant reception activities through various initiatives. Firstly, it has partnered with a local centre for asylum seekers to help young people take part in international youth work camps. This allows third-country nationals to meet with other young people, learn French, discover the area where they live and engage in social activities. In 2018, 20 young people participated in this programme, a number three times larger than previous years. This significant increase shows how successful this opportunity has been. In addition, LesVillagesDesJeunes has included 3 migrants in their “Back to Work” programme for marginalised and unemployed people. In this programme (STARTER), participants are given the opportunity to attend specific courses organised in collaboration with 11 other associations undertaking similar integration initiatives. Finally, daily activities (visits, cooking, games) have been organised for children under age 18 who do not yet have a stable placement solution.