Austria – The work of Human Rights in difficult times: "Don Bosco International" and "Salesians for the Social" show Salesian good practices
The meeting entitled: "Human rights work in challenging times - ways forward" took place on Monday 1 February in digital mode. The event, promoted by the Platform of Fundamental Rights - a body of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), based in Vienna, saw the involvement of "Don Bosco International" (DBI), the body representing the Salesians of Don Bosco at the European institutions, which led a thematic session entitled: “Promoting the rights of young citizens of third countries in alternative assistance services”.
The session led by the DBI, through its Executive Secretary, Renato Cursi, had the objective of reflecting on the issue of unaccompanied foreign minors and young third-country nationals who received support, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Momodou Jallow, a young man from Gambia who arrived in Italy as a minor, intervened on the occasion. He told his story, the challenges he faced once in Italy, but above all the opportunities he managed to seize thanks to the welcome and educational accompaniment received, through "Salesiani per il Sociale", within the “Don Bosco” work in Naples.
His boyhood story was intense: Momodou loves football and studying, is active with volunteering and has recently started an internship. But all this was possible because he was supported within the day and hospitality center activated as part of the "M'Interesso di Te" project, promoted by "Salesians for Social", and financed by the Intesa San Paolo Charity Fund.
The debate initiated by his testimony highlighted some key points of the issue, which revolve around the theme of welcoming children and young adult migrants, the focus on the transition of young people to adulthood and the risk of their leaving the paths of social services; also, giving voice to young migrants, to their experiences; the recognition and enhancement of previous skills acquired in their country of origin.
In his own presentation, Momodou launched a message to the institutions, asking for more and more support for young people, also thinking of many of his peers who need guidance and orientation, but who also want to put themselves at the service of others and the community where they live.
Mamadou is a young man who has engaged with the community and continues to do so; even during this era of pandemic, he has supported and continues to support the community with the collection and distribution of food, helping where he himself received the support and opportunities to grow up.