“NewBees: shaping an inclusive society where all talent matters”
~ by Annemiek Dresen, founder and director of NewBees
Caring for people on the move
At the end of 2019, 26 million refugees were on the move, many of whom were forced to flee from violence and oppression. Since 2013, more than 150,000 people have applied for asylum in the Netherlands, looking to build a new future. Many of them risked their lives as they crossed the Mediterranean Sea in makeshift boats and leaking dinghies.
People’s resilience after such a dangerous crossing is inspiring. And the talent, experience, and motivation newcomers bring, are a welcome addition to Dutch communities and work floors. Yet somehow the seemingly tolerant Dutch have not found a way to close the gap between work and talent, even though there are vacancies available that match the talent of newcomers.
It often takes a long time before people can fully participate in society. And that while many are looking to be engaged and productive members of society. Working is proven to enhance self-efficacy, recognition, and integration. Whether voluntary or paid, work leads to employability, more social cohesion, and more inclusive communities.
NewBees found a successful way to prepare newcomers, refugees, for a job: for a place in society. We match newcomers to traineeships with local entrepreneurs and organizations, with talent and equality as key values. We have developed a unique methodology and online matching platform that combine smart technology with social contact. During our traineeship, our experienced teams made up of former refugees and locals, guide both refugee and company, so we really make our matches matter.
All NewBees follow our 4M-model: we meet people and their talent, we match them to a fitting traineeship, which we make matter through our personal guidance based on experience. Finally, we measure the impact we make this way so we keep improving our service and can show the social benefits of our work.
Unlike recruitment agencies, whose clients are companies looking for employees, NewBees starts with the talent of newcomers. We create a space for that talent to grow and to adapt to its new environment. With the help of our refugee-led teams and smart online app, we do this efficiently and effectively.
On our innovative online platform, newcomers, together with our matchers, share their experience, knowledge and passion in a personal profile. With this information, we match newcomers to a suitable traineeship: a temporary, often unpaid position with a local organization or company.
Traineeships are tailor-made programs that focus on the newcomers’ talents, experiences and ambitions. They combine practical experience at the workplace with workshops and individual supervision by our matchers. NewBees works with local teams in various cities in the Netherlands. Our team members are strongly rooted in local communities. At least half each team has a background as a newcomer and knows exactly what our trainees are going through. The other half of the team is a local goal-getter with a large network of potential employers and partners close by. In this way, we find a suitable match for everyone, independent of the experience, background or diploma’s somebody can show.
At NewBees, we celebrate the skills people show in the traineeship. So even if you have not enjoyed formal education or work experience, your talent matters at NewBees. We make matches that improve the lives and careers of newcomers. And that contribute to an inclusive society. We are proud to have matched over 1200 people in the past five years.
MATCHES that MATTER
What better way to learn about a new country than to delve into its past? At the Zaanstad Municipal Archives, seven newbees are doing just that.
As volunteers in the archives, their workspace is filled floor-to-ceiling with cabinets holding historical documents of Zaandam’s centuries-old past. With an impressive collection of historical photos, films, books and newspapers, the archives form a beautiful, living memory of the region.
With so much work needed to properly preserve the documents, it’s also a great place to learn new skills, practice Dutch, and meet new people. The team works together to help the staff store, sort and care for the documents. The outcome? Diving into the past helps them create a brighter future.
“I feel like I’m a part of history — the history of my new country.”
MEASURE positive impact
NewBees creates a positive impact on all our stakeholders: newcomers and their families, employers, our employees, government and society as a whole. To measure the actual impact of our traineeships, we developed a tool that allows us to monitor several indicators, which show the financial and non-financial impact of NewBees’ work. Some examples of these non-financial indicators are a variety of ‘welfare effects of work’, for example, because of social status, or personal contacts. Others have to do with the welfare effects of speaking the language or cultural integration, and with the effect of that welfare on children and families. Some financial indicators include an increase in productivity for companies and the decrease in welfare expenses for Dutch cities. We analyze our impact and adjust our services based on this knowledge to improve our product and deliver a better service.
Challenges and opportunities ahead
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. For NewBees, the global COVID-19 pandemic paused many of the matches we made, and we had to move most of our services online. Luckily, we were able to stay close to our people, and we managed to continue to support our participants in developing their talent in a practical way. Even though many people had trouble organizing their digital lives at the start of the crisis, NewBees managed to get most of our participants online and into our broad offering of online workshops and traineeships.
Experts anticipate that we will feel the impact of this crisis for many years to come. As some companies close and others ask their employees to work from home, the number and variety of traineeship positions and opportunities decreases. This means that NewBees’ activities towards opening up the work floor for migrants’ talents have become even more challenging.
Thankfully, a great opportunity lies ahead as well: a new civic integration law in the Netherlands that will go into effect in July 2021. This law shifts the responsibilities and means for overseeing the integration process of newcomers to municipalities and local authorities. As such, Dutch cities will open up tenders to purchase expertise and successful interventions for integration starting in July 2021.
In 2019 and 2020, evaluation pilots have been organized by the national government in various parts of the country to experiment with the new law. They focused on several specific themes, one of them called “dual trajectories” (combining language learning and working), which is what we are good at. NewBees was centered in one of these pilots, and our methodology was proven to fit the design and principles of the new law. As such, we are uniquely positioned to win several of these new integration contracts.
How to help
To prepare for the scaling of NewBees’ activities and win contracts in a variety of Dutch cities, we are looking for investors who are interested in providing growth capital. Furthermore, we are always looking for people to tell our story and to open up their companies to NewBees’ trainees.
Annemiek Dresen is the founder and director of NewBees. She started NewBees after visiting the Greek islands during the European Refugee Crisis of 2015.
She believes that an inclusive society starts with working together. Social innovation and inclusion are her major drivers.
“CARING FOR MIGRANTS DURING THE EUROPEAN REFUGEES CRISIS: Our experience in migrants’ and refugees’ shelters in Milan, Italy”
~ by Prof. Mario C. Raviglione, M.D. and Dr. Simone Villa, M.D.
Migration is a dynamic phenomenon that requires active engagement of stakeholders working in different sectors and, in general, of the community as a whole to allow a humane and effective support to those in need. In recent years, migrant influxes towards the European shores increased in 2015 because of the tightening of civil tensions and conflicts in some parts of the globe. Following such a large arrival of migrants, the EU system for asylum application, relocation and resettlement, was rapidly overwhelmed. Likewise, public health agencies responsible for the health of individuals were burdened with a tremendous amount of work.
The experience in Milan’s shelters
In Milan, Italy, between 2015 and 2018, we participated in a project focussed on tuberculosis (TB) prevention and care for those migrants arriving in the city as a result of the Italian relocation scheme. The project was coordinated by the public health agency of Milan, with the expertise of physicians of the Istituto Villa Marelli which serves as the regional reference centre for TB. As University of Milan, we were involved in producing evidence and best-practice guidance. The interventions applied to safeguard the health of migrants included screening for TB infection and disease, confirmation of diagnosis, and offer adequate treatment.
The most difficult task was to care for the health of those migrants affected by TB who could suddenly be relocated within the EU thus interrupting ongoing treatment and jeopardizing their health as well as permit continuous transmission of the infection. Key element to avoid such risks was the engagement in multi-lateral discussions with key people so that relocation could be halted until treatment completion or supported through the provision of sufficient medicines to complete therapy.
Another problem was the saturation of the service which resulted in a wide temporal gap between the two phases of the intervention (i.e., screening and diagnosis). This, together with the distance between migrants’ shelters, where asylum applicants were hosted and screened, and the healthcare facility, where diagnosis and care were provided, resulted in people not able to comply with medical appointments.
Multidisciplinary is the key
Many care providers have a narrow vision of the problem faced when caring for vulnerable populations. As a result, some key supportive measures may be neglected thus undermining the effectiveness of the entire intervention if adjustments are not introduced. In our case, the distance among facilities and the lack of coordination had negative effects. This taught us that a multidisciplinary team, with physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, and urban planners, is necessary to achieve results and better care for migrants.
The principles learned are currently being applied to another vulnerable community in Milan: homeless people. To date, the diagnosis of both TB infection and disease can take place directly in homeless’ shelters. This will ultimately allow more people to be well taken care of and not to fall ill in the future.
Advocacy matters, but also vision
Every intervention that seeks to alleviate illness or unhealthy conditions among vulnerable communities requires funds and visibility to reach its goal and provide access to health for every person, especially those whose rights are denied.
Apart from advocacy aims, it is enriching to see major health issues from a different angle as it helps in covering the multiple aspects that such a complex phenomenon entail. Therefore, our experience in Milan should be seen as a starting point for a wider discussion on how to improve health of migrants and refugees at all levels and how to ensure they can access the best possible care and prevention interventions.
Given her extraordinary commitment and achievements and her love for the poor, marginalised people, Mother Cabrini has been made by the Catholic Church the Patron Saint of Immigrants. Her entire life was devoted to efforts in relief of the sufferings and the struggle for survival of migrants and other vulnerable people around the world. Today, with scientific evidence applied to field operations, we have the responsibility to ensure that her vision is translated into the most effective interventions for all those who are marginalised in society and yet have a full right to access health with dignity through that spirit of solidarity and social justice that Mother Cabrini herself championed.
**The International Health Commission (IHC) is a collaboration of health professionals and MSCs that provide guidance to strengthen the MSC sponsored health ministries. Prof. Mario Raviglione is a member of the IHC and together with Dr. Simone Villa , they illustrate for us a contemporary and intelligent example of the outworking of the charism in improving the health and lives of migrants and refugees.**
Prof. Mario C. Raviglione, M.D., is a Full Professor of Global Health at the University of Milan and Honorary Professor at Queen Mary University of London. In 2003-2017, he was Director of the Global TB Programme at the World Health Organization.
Prof. Raviglione graduated from the University of Turin in Italy in 1980 and trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases in New York, as Chief Medical Resident at Cabrini Medical Centre, and in Boston, as an AIDS Clinical Research Fellow at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Currently Prof. Raviglione is the Director of the Global Health Centre and Coordinator of the on-line Master degree program in Global Health (MGH) at the University of Milan.
Dr. Simone Villa, M.D., is an Italian medical doctor and research fellow at University of Milan where he works on the EU Patient-cEntric clinicAl tRial pLatform (EU-PEARL) project concerning the drug R&D of drugs against TB. Currently, his work is focused mainly in the field of TB, especially in vulnerable groups (e.g. homeless, migrants), and COVID-19.
Dr. Villa has graduated from the Medical School of the University of Milan in 2018 and an is currently MGH student of the on-line course held by Prof. Raviglione at the University of Milan.
“Hope, Stability, and Refuge, How We Provide Education in an Immigrant Neighbourhood in Buenos Aires Area”
~ by Griselda Acosta, Director of the Cabrini School of Villa Amelia
A View Into our World
Our school is located in the humble neighborhood of “Engineer Budge”, in the district of Lomas de Zamora, three blocks from a river and the daily market ‘La Salada’. During the days of the market, this area is difficult to access and often polluted. Further, due to the proximity to the river, the entire area, including the school and the nearby MSC health facility, is often flooded. The community is for the most part composed of immigrants from Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru, who came to our country in search of a better future. They earn their living by carrying out various activities during the market days, such as taking care of the stalls, selling food on the street, using carts, etc.
The neighborhood is comprised of low-cost, precariously built housing, where large extended families live together. Many of these families do not have access to basic services and due to a number of factors, many of are subject to recurring episodes of domestic violence.
The Importance of the School for the Community
Villa Amelia Cabrini School is recognized as an established institution and respected by the local community. Mother Virginia, the Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart who founded the school moved by the love for Mother Cabrini’s work and supported by the MSCs, completely devoted herself to the development of this mission. The families in the community remember well this missionary work, and their participation in the construction of the school.
For our community, the school represents a place where, beyond education, people can find a refuge, and thanks to the presence of the Sisters and the missionary spirit of all of us, people here feel that this is a place to turn to when they have difficulties.
Gifts and New Challenges in Serving the Families We Work With
We have seen great results thanks to the people involved in our Cabrinian mission and their efforts undertaken despite facing difficult situations. In addition, it is necessary to know how to make the best use of the resources coming from various benefactors to give our children a dignified and quality education. We are aware that in these contexts, education is a fundamental tool to move these families lives forward.
The challenge that we are facing today is mainly to help families hit by this pandemic, both in their spiritual and basic needs. Those who have the least are actually the most vulnerable to the situation we are experiencing. This leads me to reflect on this question: “how can we talk about pedagogy to a family if they do not have enough to eat”?
During the pandemic, thanks to the presence of the Sisters in the nearby MSC Community house, we were able to have constant communication with the families. We organized the monthly delivery of a package of basic food products to help the families. To carry out this project, the school and community work side-by-side. The meetings we held with the families took place in an organized way and with the attention that navigating the consequences of the pandemic requires of us.
We have very demanding times ahead of us, but I know that God wanted me to be here: I have a mission to carry out and I know that Mother Cabrini will guide me (and us all) with the right words, love and support to continue her Mission.
Griselda Acosta was born on August 23, 1977 in Argentina. She belongs to a modest family, with illiterate parents. She has been teaching since 2006 and has a long experience of working in difficult contexts and ill-famed neighborhoods.
Director of the Cabrini School of Villa Amelia since April 5, 2019.
Mother Cabrini’s Essential Work Among Immigrant Families Continues with Strength and Compassion in New York City
~ by Ella Nimmo, Director of Community Programs & Development at Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
About Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC (CIS-NYC) provides essential services to immigrants in New York City in the spirit of Mother Cabrini, Patron Saint of Immigrants. Our mission is to empower immigrants through education, access to essential services, civic participation and community building. Our services include: immigration legal services; case management and counseling; scholarships for immigrant students; food distribution; community organizing and advocacy; and Know Your Rights workshops.
Our Greatest Joys
At CIS-NYC our greatest joy is watching the families we serve grow and thrive when provided with a supportive environment and resources. Many of our clients have been part of CIS-NYC for years and we have seen them go from living in fear and isolation, to feeling empowered to be strong advocates for themselves, their families, and their communities. We also take great joy in seeing families reunited after long, expensive, and frustrating immigration processes. Knowing that we play a role in bringing families together after years of separation energizes us to continue this work.
An ongoing challenge at CIS-NYC is contending with constant attacks on immigrants that make it harder for our families to access the resources necessary to live with dignity. The U.S. immigration system does not meet the needs of those who come here seeking safety and security; many of our clients come to CIS-NYC seeking solutions that are not provided by our current system. It can be difficult and disheartening to face this reality. Over the past two decades we have had to be creative in developing services that meet the needs of our clients within this broken system. We also work together with our community to advocate for change through community organizing. The work of creating change can be slow and discouraging, which is why it is important for us to build strong networks of support, be together in community, and celebrate the small wins along the way.
Centering Immigrant Voices
Since CIS-NYC was founded in 1999, our programs and activities have been informed directly by the input and experiences our immigrant community members. We aim to center and amplify the voices of immigrants in all aspects of our work. This approach has been central to our success in developing trusting relationships with our community and building effective programs that are responsive to the constantly changing needs of immigrants in NY.
Why We Care for People on the Move
Millions around the world have been and continue to be displaced from their homes due to poverty, violence, climate change, lack of opportunity, and other factors. Immigrants are our friends, our family members, our neighbors, and our coworkers. They contribute to our economy and society, but most importantly, they are valued members of our communities and families. We honor the legacy of Mother Cabrini and the Catholic Social Teachings of the Church by welcoming immigrants, valuing their faith and culture, protecting their dignity and showing compassion for all those in need. This is particularly important in this moment when we have seen an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment and policies, motivated by racism and xenophobia
How to Support CIS-NYC
Support CIS-NYC by donating (www.bit.ly/donatecis), volunteering your time, and participating in our campaigns. You can also support immigrants by contacting your elected officials, voting for candidates that advocate for immigrants, staying informed about what is going on in immigration, and engaging your friends and family in dialogue about immigrant rights.
Ella Nimmo is the Director of Community Programs & Development at Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC, where she works together with immigrants and allies to build power and leadership within the local immigrant community. She first joined CIS-NYC as a Social Work Intern in 2015. Ella received her Masters in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and is a Licensed Master Social Worker.
SERVING LIVES ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF TERESINA- PIAUI, AN ACCOUNT FROM THE SANTA CABRINI YOUTH CENTER IN BRAZIL
~ by Sister Denise Alves Morra, MSC
Policies that Create an Enabling Environment
In the twentieth century the child leaves anonymity, going beyond the domestic and family domain and reaching the public domain. Worldwide, several Conferences and Declarations have taken place and several bodies have been formed (UN, UNESCO, UNICEF), with the objective of promoting public policies focused on the rights of children and adolescents. In Brazil, the 1988 Federal Constitution and the Child and Adolescent Statute ensures children and adolescents the absolute priority, the right to life, health, food, leisure, dignity, respect, freedom and family and community coexistence, among others.
A Context to our Work
In Northeastern Brazil, in a challenging context , the Cabrinian mission is inserted in a reality of internal migration, where families from the inner of the State migrate to the peripheries of large cities in search of better living conditions and in search of jobs to meet their basic survival needs.
In this scenario, the Santa Cabrini Youth Center contributes to the construction of Public Policies in the Municipality of Teresina (State of Piauí), participating in the Councils for the Rights of Children and Adolescents and working in networks and partnerships that include Civil and Government Society that work in family strengthening and community support. This work is undertaken with families in situations of human, social and economic poverty, with the objective being to prevent and or combat any type of violence and discrimination against children and adolescents.
Our Greatest Joy and Challenge
Our greatest joy is when we are able to support the personal and social development, where about 400 families served are empowered to change their own life stories. The daily challenge is to maintain the permanence of this service at a time when we have to motivate and generate hope at a personal and community level, not allowing the achievements of citizenship and rights to be violated by conservative and fundamentalist waves. Further, to point to Jesus Christ through our witness, showing him as a human and a divine man who can transform people’s history from his Merciful Heart.
Central to our Practices
Our good practices are woven through actions focused at the empowerment and education of the hearts of children, adolescents and their families. This is to work towards the protection of human life, the construction of social justice, and the care for our “common home”. We do this through active participation in the strengthening of Protection Networks and Rights Councils, and campaigns to combat sexual abuse and exploitation, child labor, human trafficking, among others.
However, it is very important to point out that in the current world and now in the context of a pandemic, facets of uncontrolled capitalism have been accentuated, these generate existential, social, economic and health crises and reinforce the insecurity of work, the lack of perspectives, the growth of migration, human trafficking and world poverty.
Signs of Hope in a Harsh Reality
At this time, children and adolescents are living in confinement, due to the closing of schools and mobility restrictions, which make them easy prey for their aggressors, often inside their own homes. We live on the outskirts of the city, a place of vulnerability and uncertainty. As Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus we have a challenging mission, to see this reality from the perspective of faith and to be a presence for many people who see in us the possibility of continuing the journey. There are countless challenges, and you can help us by fighting against child trafficking, child abuse and exploitation, by making a financial contribution, volunteering with us, and being militant in the cause of children and adolescents around the world.
Discover more on: http://www.cjsantacabrini.com/
For further information and support please write to Sr Denise at email@example.com
Sister Denise Alves Morra, MSC
Graduated in Economic Sciences from the Faculty of Economic Sciences Dom André Arco Verde, Valença-RJ, Graduated in Philosophy – SP, USC-University of Sagrado Coração-Bauru / SP, Graduated in Theology at Instituto Teológico São Paulo- ITESP / SP, Graduated in Social Work at Universidade Anhanguera –Teresina / PI and Postgraduate degree in Social Management at FAR-Teresina PI (Ademar Rosado College), Specialization in Theology and Ministries – McCormick Theological Seminary / Koinonia.
President of the Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of Teresina -PI Coordinator of the Network a Cry for Life in Teresina / PI (combating human trafficking) Northeast Region Pact Participant for Early Childhood.
“BUILDING REQUIRES COLLABORATION”
Collaboration between the congregations of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo, Scalabrini, has made the Chaire Gynai project possible, as desired by Pope Francis.
~ by Sr. Eleia Scariot, mscs, Director of the Chaire Gynai project
A Mission Born out of the Heart of Francis
Chaire Gynai is a semi-autonomous project aimed at supporting refugee women with children and migrant women in vulnerable situations. The project began in June of 2018, out of the request of Pope Francis to our Scalabrini Missionary Sisters Congregation. Its activities are carried out in two facilities located in Rome (Via della Pineta Sacchetti, 506 and Via Michele Mercati, 5), both properties belonging to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who loaned them for the purposes of this important project at no charge.
The mission is based on the four verbs presented by Pope Francis: welcome, promote, protect and integrate. According to the Pastoral Guidelines on Internally Displaced People, these “describe the mission of the Church for all those who live in the existential peripheries and in concrete situations of danger and who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated.”
We believe integration to be fundamental since it allows refugee and migrant women to fully participate in the life of the community that welcomes them, in a path of mutual enrichment and fruitful participation, promoting integral human development in the local society.
Welcoming Refugee and Migrant Women with Children
Since the project began, we have welcomed and accompanied about 60 individuals. The migrant and refugee women participating in the project are supported in their basic needs regarding their children’s schooling, health care, personal documents, job search and home search, among others; they are assisted in the process of improving and strengthening their work; they are invited to participate in training sessions on their rights and issues related to daily life.
Upon arriving at one of the houses, women are interviewed by the interdisciplinary team and the coordinator in order to develop an individual path of accompaniment towards independence. They are also counselled to grow stronger emotionally and to acquire tools of awareness and confidence that are valuable in reaching independence. The volunteers on site offer these women and children a powerful relational experience: it is an experience of giving, a relationship based on listening, understanding, protection and promotion. Their interaction with migrant volunteers who are fully integrated in the local context is of great interest. They share their experience with the women and provide them with tips for self-improvement and a better resettlement experience.
To Protect and Promote for a More Dignified Life
The activities of Chaire Gynai are inspired and focused on the four verbs mentioned above, while promoting actions and experiences that can represent best practices and examples to follow. During their stay, migrant and refugee women find a space of care and protection where they can feel safe and take the necessary time to review their personal story, while striving to connect with the local context and plan a new course for their lives. This is achieved thanks to the support of the multi-disciplinary team which aims at developing the women’s capacities to access the services and resources in the area in an effort to enhance their professional and personal skills in the pursuit of a path of interaction with the local context through work, familiarity with the environment and self-knowledge to develop a plan for the future.
The project is characterized by family coexistence and sharing, considering the fundamental need for human and humanizing relationships among participants. We aim at building energizing spaces in a fruitful environment to support a recovery of dignity and the redemption of women’s dreams, as well as family relationships. A process of psychosocial recovery and consolidation of personal and professional relations supports them in a gradual path to independence from the facility over a time determined with the participants, and as part of customized projects developed with each of them and constantly monitored by the interdisciplinary team.
Signs of Joy and Positive Outcomes of the Mission
Results can be achieved with this mission through the development of personal projects for autonomy, considering the resources, capacities, experience and skills of every woman for her work integration and social inclusion. We aim at helping them become aware that they are the main characters in their own experiences and life projects. Therefore, we work in teams to guarantee our hospitality in semi-autonomy to lead every single woman to (re)conquer her independence.
It is especially important to foster paths of promotion and integration regarding work, education, health and other topics concerning coexistence and citizenship. Success is possible thanks to the socio-cultural, psychological, intercultural, spiritual and legal accompaniment provided to the women we welcome.
Integrating to Establish a More Humane Society in Solidarity
Refugee women, especially mothers with children, can contribute to developing a culture of encounter and the promotion of protagonism and independence in a perspective of active citizenship, in synergy with the territory, local authorities and services. The local community can benefit from the presence of refugee and migrant women in vulnerable situations in ways that can influence the entire communit. They can be stirred by the testimony and implementation of the Chaire Gynai Project and its awareness and information processes addressed to the local population for a human and Christian vision of human mobility.
It is worth mentioning that Chaire Gynai is carried out in conjunction with the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, CEI, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, USMI and the Migrants Office of the Diocese of Rome. From the outset, the project has benefited from the invaluable collaboration of several women’s religious congregations.
Eléia Scariot, a Scalabrini missionary sister, has been the director of Chaire Gynai since 2018. The Project is carried out in collaboration with the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Cabrini Sisters). The author holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, and a master’s degree in Communications from the UNISINOS University, Sao Leopoldo, RS, Brazil.
Discover more on Facebook: Chaire Gynai
Mother Cabrini at Work at the Border
~ by Christopher LaBianco, Executive Director of the Cabrini Mission Foundation in New York
A Brief Description of Our Initiative: Waiting at the Border
In response to challenges faced by immigrants seeking a new life in the United States the Cabrini Mission Foundation has expanded its work in two areas along the U.S. and Mexico border. The Foundation is partnering with like-minded organizations supporting immigrants and asylum seekers on their journey, most often once they are released from a detention center and or have been living in a tent city along the border.
It can be hard to comprehend the size of such detention centers or encampments. The Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, TX for example, houses a reported population of 1,900 detainees. In Matamoros, Mexico over 2,500 people are living in tents in an area we refer to as Dignity Villiage.
What does the Current Situation Look Like?
In July of 2019 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, began enforcing its Migrant Protection Protocols, or the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which the U.S. returns asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait the duration of their pending cases in the immigration court system.
Asylum seekers wait in Mexico often without access to family, legal, or social support. Coupled with the new challenge of COVID-19, as well as hurricane season, it is near impossible for individuals to successfully assert their asylum claims.
Our Greatest Joy in Undertaking the Work: Making a Difference
The Foundation has provided food, clothing, and financial aid for legal assistance, as well as to support the construction of a well to supply drinking water. Legal assistance at the Border includes having a trained person assist migrants in filling out their immigration court paperwork and helping them file it correctly. If you have ever filled out government documents – you know how confusing it can be. Try to do it if you speak a language other than the one the form is written or in general if you have difficulty reading or writing. Legal assistance also includes going to court with the migrants for their court hearings as well helping them monitor and track required court appearances. Language barriers, missed court appearances, incorrect or missing paperwork, all of these are barriers to entry into the U.S. and can extend the wait at the border months and even years.
I have often heard the question, “How do you move a mountain?” The answer being one shovel of dirt at a time. Likewise, the Foundation is approaching the Immigrant crisis at the U.S. border. We are working to improve the lives of those hoping for a brighter future typically not for themselves but their children.
The Main Challenge we Face in Undertaking This Work
Our main challenge faced is attaining reliable information on the changing needs and conditions at the border. Based in New York City the Foundation does not have “boots on the ground” at the border. We rely on our program partners. Our goal is to one day soon have a physical presence at the border.
An Example of a Good Practice We Use to Move Forward the Work of Serving Immigrants
Partnership: While there are many well-known not-for-profit institutions working at the border, we have found it more effective to work with smaller local groups. The local partners are often more invested in the work, their administrative costs are low and their ability to address a need is often quicker.
From Our Perspective, Why is Care for People on the Move Important?
Today there are any number of global concerns that merit one’s attention. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic perhaps has eclipsed them all. But the global migration and refugee crisis remains the Foundation’s top priority. There are an estimated 80 million forcibly displaced people around the world. In doing this work, we are holding true to the charism of Mother Cabrini.
What can Readers of the Blog do to Support the Work of the Foundation?
Get involved. Migrant families are resourceful and incredibly optimistic. They make the best of their situation. They have faith. But your engagement is desperately needed. The Cabrini Mission Foundation welcomes support and your interest in the work we are doing at the border. For more information please feel free to contact Christopher LaBianco, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher LaBianco serves as the Executive Director of the Cabrini Mission Foundation in New York. A position he has held for two years. He began his work with the Missionary Sister’s at Cabrini Medical Center many years ago. Christopher has held senior positions with the American Red Cross, the East West Institute and United States Olympic Committee. In addition to his undergraduate degree from Auburn University Christopher holds a Master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Christopher is married to his wife Shannon of 20 years and has two children. His oldest is currently enrolled at Cabrini University.
The Importance of Mental Health Services for Asylum Seekers and Refugees
~ by Professor Suresh Sundram, Director of Research, Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Program
Why we exist
The Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Melbourne, Australia was established in 2016 to serve asylum seekers and new refugees in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Although there are important paid roles within the Hub, it is reliant on the pro bono contributions of numerous health workers. The Hub is essential because the people that it serves are primarily people who are not provided access to the Federally funded healthcare system. Many of these asylum seekers are also not permitted to work and are therefore reliant on charity. It then becomes a forced financial choice for what is prioritised where food and shelter often override health needs. Moreover, the lack of work – intensified by the Covid 19 economic slowdown – exacerbates housing insecurity leaving many asylum seekers in transient accommodation complicating the provision of longitudinal care.
The Essentiality of Mental Health Services Especially During This Time of a Pandemic
The public health measures imposed because of the pandemic have caused many of us much strain and difficulty. The marginalisation of asylum seekers within the community through their enforced disconnection from mainstream modes such as employment, housing and welfare support has caused even greater hardship for this group. The isolation and loneliness from their alienation compounded by enforced lockdowns has further corroded their resilience exacerbating distress and mental illness.
The Hub has worked tirelessly to provide treatment, care and support for the physical and mental health care needs of those most adversely affected. In parallel we have been trying to understand how these new social factors interact with the lived experience of trauma that most asylum seekers and refugees bring with them from their home countries and migration journeys. Many fail to recognise or try to ignore the impacts of these stressors on their health and functioning and it is all too easy for workers to miss subtle signs of distress or mental illness.
The Future of Our Work
We developed a simple tool, the STAR-MH, for all workers regardless of training to complete with their adult asylum seeker or refugee client that will indicate the likelihood of a serious mental health issue that requires further clinical evaluation. It has been very positively received globally and we are now trying to secure funding to complete adolescent and child versions of the tool.
In understanding the complexity and nuance of how past and current experiences weave to create resilience and vulnerability to mental health and illness we hope to be able to characterise specific windows where targeting interventions will be most effective. By moving beyond generic and unsophisticated conceptions of how trauma and social factors impact on mental health to more nuanced and subtle understandings, we can develop and customise treatments for asylum seekers and refugees to improve mental health. Most importantly it will allow us to identify at-risk children and adolescents before they become unwell and ultimately prevent illness.
Called to be Human and Humanising, Bearing Witness Brings Healing
In treating and trying to understand asylum seekers and refugees, one of our most critical roles is to bear witness to their experiences, past and current. This validation, at the core of all healing, is maybe most apposite in the context of what many asylum seekers and refugees are experiencing in host societies where they are ostracised, excluded and rejected. We hope to provide an alternate experience through our work. A contemporary expression of our Cabrinian heritage.
Discover more on: https://www.cabrini.com.au/patients-and-families/facilities-and-directions/cabrini-asylum-seeker-and-refugee-health-hub/
Advancing the Human Rights and Dignity of People in Migration, Center on Immigration at Cabrini University
~ by Abel Rodríguez Inaugural Director, Center on Immigration and Assistant Professor of Religion, Law, and Social Justice Cabrini University
At the Heart of Our Work
The Center on Immigration at Cabrini University seeks to honor the legacy of Saint Francesca Cabrini by advancing the human rights and human dignity of people in migration. We do this work through initiatives that focus on education, advocacy, and research. Specifically, for example, we host experts to discuss pressing issues of interest to the campus community and beyond, and our staff provides education to the community about legal and financial rights. The Center’s advocacy efforts include organizing students to call for more just immigration policies at our state and national capitals, and we provide free legal advice and representation to noncitizens. Our publications aim to influence law and policy, and we bring together prominent researchers biannually to discuss their work. By building community among students, advocates, and scholars, we educate others and build power to persuade lawmakers, calling for more just policies for immigrant communities.
Our Proudest Achievement and Our Greatest Challenge
Undoubtedly, our greatest joy has been cultivating a passion for advocacy and immigrant justice among the next generation. Each semester, we organize, train, and transport students from various universities to meet with the staff of elected officials, or sometimes the elected officials themselves. We are incredibly proud of the students, who have educated politicians of the realities immigrants face and speak truth to power. They remain professional, representing their universities with pride, while unafraid to challenge representatives who are dismissive or misinformed. Their advocacy is grounded in authoritative research and, most importantly, in the experiences of those directly impacted by harmful policies. This advocacy is growing. In spring 2020, before the pandemic caused us to cancel the trip, we anticipated taking more than 100 students to speak with at least 20 members of U.S. Congress.
Perhaps our greatest challenge is the current political climate in the U.S. and globally. Attacking immigrant communities, blaming them for society’s ills, is not new, but it has intensified. The law is increasingly used to punish those who migrate, placing them in detention centers or denying them asylum despite genuine fear of harm or death. Lawmakers are more resistant to enacting beneficial reforms. Representing noncitizens in legal matters has become a more hostile process. Immigrant communities are denigrated simply for fleeing danger or seeking abundant lives. It is becoming increasingly difficult to effect positive change for people in migration, both in the courts and in the halls of Congress. We are rising to this challenge by working closely with grassroots organizations to strengthen our numbers and educating the public of the realities faced by people on the move.
A Call for All of Us to Take Action
We believe that justice for immigrant communities is critical because people on the move are often particularly vulnerable. Unprecedented numbers of people are fleeing unyielding persecution, crushing poverty, unmitigated violence, and irreparable climate change. We fight with and for immigrant communities as they face considerable legal obstacles from the very governments that, for their own benefit, perpetuate global inequality, produce political instability, and disproportionately pollute the planet. As people of conscience, we must fight for policies that prohibit governments from imprisoning children in punitive detention systems, sending people to their deaths as a result of unjust asylum laws, and dividing the love of families through mass deportations. To support this work, we encourage you to connect with us to join our advocacy efforts and attend our educational events.
Abel Rodríguez (’01) is Director of the Center on Immigration and Assistant Professor of Religion, Law, and Social Justice at Cabrini University. His scholarship, teaching, and advocacy focus on migrant justice. He is an expert and frequent speaker on immigration policy and the intersection of criminal and immigration law.
Prior to Cabrini, Rodríguez held a split position as the immigration specialist at the Defender Association of Philadelphia and staff attorney at Nationalities Service Center, where he advised and represented noncitizen clients facing deportation. He also worked as the Langer, Grogan, and Diver Social Justice Fellow at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, where he represented individuals with disabilities and older adults in their immigration matters. He has taught the immigration clinic at Temple University Law School, political science at La Salle University, and Spanish language at the University of Pennsylvania.
Rodríguez earned a Juris Doctor at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at Cabrini College.
As the son of immigrants and a first-generation college graduate, raised in a working-class community near Cabrini, he is delighted to be on the faculty of his alma mater, an institution dedicated to social justice and named for the patroness of immigrants.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: THE CABRINIAN VISION THAT ACCOMPANIES OUR LIVES
A Reflection from Educators of the Heart at Istituto Cabrini in Rome
~ by Deborah Pucci and Stefania Caragnano
In God’s Love School
~ by MERCEDES FERNÁNDEZ
More coming soon!
More coming soon!
More coming soon!
More coming soon!