Sister Paola A. – The welcome track, with autonomy as its destination
“Northern suburbs of Rome, a three-storey building made available by the Railways, 32 housing units, four kitchens. Then common rooms, Italian school, playroom, five-a-side football pitch, garden, 19 nationalities, ages ranging from 4 months to 64 years. Opposite many trains under maintenance, behind them the high-speed train. This is Centro Pedro Arrupe, a multi structure of Centro Astalli, of which I have been the coordinator for ten years.
The objective of the Community for refugee families, the Family House for unaccompanied foreign minors, and the House for single mothers with children, all temporarily stationed at ‘the platform’ of Pedro Arrupe, is to give back to everyone the tools and the courage to take back their lives and start a new future.
Every day, operators and volunteers come alongside complex lives, trying to accompany, hearten, support. They have to look for a house, a job, put their children in school, regularise their documents, help each one to build their own network of contacts with the working, educational, health, religious, recreational… realities existing in the city,
Inside the chapel in Via degli Astalli, there is a large mosaic depicting the The escape in Egypt. The family of exiles who fled to Egypt two thousand years ago is emblematic of every family that experiences the drama of forced exile and persecution. And each of their children has the face of the Child of Bethlehem”.