It´s a joint initiative with the Community of Sant´Egidio, the Episcopal Conference of Italy and various protestant denominations.
These 25 refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan were saved from an almost certain death. They arrived in Italy thanks to humanitarian corridors and by plane, instead of risking their lives in a dangerous sea crossing or entrusting their lives to human traffickers.
MSGR. NUNZIO GALANTINO Secretary-General, Episcopal Conference of Italy
“We do it with the hope of continuing, of expanding this humanitarian corridor experience – so it can become an established practice, the path through which those who need it can fulfill their dream of living with dignity.”
MARCO IMPLAGLIAZZO President, Community of Sant´Egidio
“We Italians aren´t afraid of you all. On the contrary, we welcome you with great joy and
affection. From now on, you are our brothers and sisters.”
It´s a collaborative initiative between the Community of Sant´Egidio, the Episcopal Conference of Italy, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldensian Church. In barely two years, these organizations have managed to safely bring more than 1,000 refugees from the Middle East – both Christian and Muslim. The important thing was saving the most vulnerable.
In two years, this new protocol will help some 500 refugees from Africa like Efrem, who
hugged his sister Shewa like this after seeing her for the first time in 17 years.
“I have been here in Italy for almost 11 years. When I left, he was a child and now he´s become a man. This is a miracle thanks to this country. I am good here, I´m healthy. I have so many friends that have become my Italian family. For me, being here is like being at home, and I know he´ll like it.”
These are the stories of those who have had to flee from heinous political regimes, like the Eritrean; from war, like South Sudan refugees; or the lack of opportunities, as is happening in Ethiopia.
Many of them are children, people persecuted for different reasons or families with an ill child, like Hadiya´s Somalian family. One of her daughters suffers from a genetic disease that prevents her from even eating.
“I hope to have a better life and that my children can study. They have helped me with everything. I couldn´t even do the paperwork. I´m so happy that I´m not even tired.”
The family travelled from Somalia to Ethiopia by donkey. Germal, an Eritrean, escaped his country to evade rigid military service many have described as slavery. He spent nine years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, and tried numerous times to get to Europe through unsafe routes. Now, he has finally been able to make it, without putting his life in danger.
“I´m happy about today and about arriving legally. I hope my friends who stayed in the
refugee camp have the same opportunity.”
Since they arrived at the airport, these refugees began handling their paperwork. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted them their visas, and the Interior verified their backgrounds.
Humanitarian corridors are, ultimately, the most humane solution for people simply wanting to live with dignity.