The political situation of North-African countries is still unsettled and the flux of refugees coming especially from Lybian shores has been going on throughout the summer, though in a decreasing way. Last week, Lampedusa island was again on the news because the refugee center there was burnt by the a group of ‘guests’ that protested against the slow process of the bureaucratic procedures in order to ask for asylum. As a result, they were all expelled the day after! More than 800 people were taken back to Tunisia and now the center will be closed to be rebuilt. It is expected that Lampedusa will not be any longer to destination of boats or ships with migrant people on board. They will be taken to Porto Empedocle which is in Southern mainland Sicily.
On going work in Mineo (Sicily)
Throughout the summer, teams have been helping refugees with preparing legal papers, transport, internet connections with family members back home, movie shows (cultural and evangelistic movies), clothing, food, fellowship and friendship . Many refugees have asked for Bibles and they were all given one each (especially in English, French and Italian). Teams had lots of opportunities for Gospel witness. Problems around and in the center are huge and it is difficult to know what will happen in the long run. While emergency help continues, we have tried to develop ideas and programs for long term impact.
A microloan program was designed to help 50 woman householders in the region of Mek'ele in the north of Ethiopia. At least 10 of these micro-loans will be given to migrant women who are in Mineo and are asking or are forced to go back to Ethiopia. The program received the support of the Pescara city council and Compassion (which has centers in the Mek’ele region). These women will receive money and practical advice on how to start small and sustainable businesses.
Day center in Rome for refugees and migrant people
Another long term development has to do with the opening of a day center in Rome for migrant people and refugees. The work has been going on for years with the support of International Teams and a number of Evangelical churches in Rome and it consisted in providing food and friendship especially for Afghani people. The time has come to open a drop-in center to welcome them three afternoons a week and we are about to open it. The refugees will receive Italian and English lessons, a safe place to stay during the day, opportunities to talk, books to read, etc. We pray that many of them will come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as we serve them in practical ways. This is an important development going beyond emergency and offering an on-going support for these needy people.
Gifts can be sent to:
Alleanza Evangelica Italiana
vicolo S. Agata 20
IBAN IT 64 N 07601 03200 000046728002
Rome, 26th September 2011
Alleanza Evangelica Italiana ([email protected] Tel. 0039 333 8558174)
In co-operation with GiM-Italia ([email protected] Tel 095 648136 - 388 1853628); META ([email protected] Tel 339 1835336); Coevema ( [email protected] )
Alleanza Evangelica Italiana
Vicolo S. Agata 20
00153 Roma – Italia www.alleanzaevangelica.org