Andrea Riccardi: “A project that combines integration and security. No walls “- Nearly 700 people welcomed in Italy thorugh the project promoted by Sant’Egidio together with the Italian Protestant Churches
First anniversary for humanitarian corridors celebrated today in Fiumicino welcoming 50 new Syrian refugees (other 75 people will arrive on March 2) thanks to the program promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldesian Table. With these new arrivals the number of people who came to Italy since the beginning of the project on February 29, 2016, rise to nearly 700: all safely and legally arrived to Italy, in agreement with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior.
The founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Andrea Riccardi, welcomed the refugees at airport together with the president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, Luca Maria Negro, the responsible of Otto per Mille of the Waldensian Church, Susanna Stone, the head of the services to migrants of the Sant’Egidio Community, Daniela Pompei, the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mario Giro and the Italian Deputy Minister, Domenico Manzione.
“Italian has gogod feeelings for Syria“, said Andrea Riccardi. “During this year, we allowed a significant number of refugee to reach Italy safely – said the founder of Sant’Egidio – and we understood the desire of many citizens to welcome refugees. Moreover, more European countries are going to open up new humanitarian corridors: France should do so by the end of March.”
“What seemed a dream came true, and today is one year old,” said Luca Maria Negro, thanking those in Italy who are working for integration. The new Syrian families will be welcomed – as happened with the previous arrivals – by communities, parishes, associations and families in several Italian regions, including (for the first time) the island of La Maddalena, in Sardinia. In fact 68 municipalities, in 17 regions of Italy, offered hospitality to refugees.
Another 300 people will come by the end of the year, while 500, mostly Eritreans, Somalis and south-Sudanese, will arrive from Ethiopia thanks to another agreement with the Italian State, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio together with the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The widespread welcome is a crucial element of this project, entirely self-financed, that is promoting the inclusion of refugees in the civil and social environment, in the school system for children and the working one for adults, with great benefit to the society.