Picture: Fabio Bucciarelli for INTERSOS
The project promoted and implemented by INTERSOS together with UNHCR continues, allowing four other refugee children to reach Italy safely to continue their studies
A second group of four unaccompained minors arrived today at Turin airport, thanks to the project Pagella in tasca – education channels for refugee minors, promoted by the humanitarian organization INTERSOS together with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and realized thanks to a memorandum of understanding with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Italian Cooperation, the Interior and Labour, and the commitment of civil society, and the Municipality of Turin. This is the second arrival following the first group of five minors who arrived in Italy last year.
The participants in the project are minors aged between 16 and 17, originally from Darfur, Sudan, and refugees in Niger and were selected based on their motivation to study following a careful evaluation of their best interests. All four of the boys fled alone to Libya, where they suffered mistreatment and exploitation, before finding protection in Niger.
Thanks to a 12-month scholarship, these children enter Italy with an entry visa for study, a possibility provided for by law but never used previously for refugee minors, to obtain the middle school certificate and then continue the path in upper secondary school. or in professional training. They will also be hosted by foster families selected and trained by the Municipality of Turin, and will receive educational, legal, and psychological support.
“Pagella in tasca represents the first unique experiment in the world of a safe entry channel promoted by civil society and dedicated to unaccompanied refugee minors, currently excluded from humanitarian corridors and from most other regular entry channels” explains Cesare Fermi, INTERSOS Regional Director for Europe. “The minors are welcomed by foster families who are considered suitable by the social services, unlike what happens to almost all unaccompanied minors in Italy, who are welcomed in structures. The results obtained by the children who arrived in 2021 are proof that this type of widespread reception, in a family, facilitates social inclusion and success in studying “.
“Projects such as Pagella in Tasca represent an alternative to irregular and dangerous journeys in which refugees too often lose their lives and are at the same time a tangible demonstration of solidarity and shared responsibility between states” declared Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative for Italy. “Italy once again proves to be at the forefront of developing similar programs and UNHCR is happy to continue working together with ministries, local authorities, and civil society to offer more and more opportunities like this to refugees.”
Together with INTERSOS and UNHCR, the Municipality of Turin, the CPIA Piedmont network, the Archdiocese of Turin, the Terremondo cooperative and the ASAI, Mosaico and Frantz Fanon associations are partners in the project.
The project is carried out with the support of the Italian Episcopal Conference, the Migrantes Foundation, Acri, the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and the European Commission. It is also a component of COMET, co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union.