A Chance in Life, a charitable organization created in Italy and now based in New York, is collecting donations for Ukrainian refugees. The amount collected, that after just a few days already exceeds $100.000, will allow the Italian branches of the organization to welcome some of the families that are fleeing from the war, made up mostly of women and children. Men up to 60 years old are being made to stay and fight for Ukraine.
The initiative was conceived by the director of Civitavecchia’s Repubblica dei Ragazzi, Father Raffaele Diaz, who was immediately supported in his intentions by the President of A Chance in Life, Gabriele Delmonaco.
The building being made available to the refugees is included in the Repubblica’s ten acre campus, part of which had remained unused for a few years. At this time, the organization brings together 50 boys and girls to whom an array of learning activities is offered: not enough kids to fill up all of the available facilities. A Chance in Life has recently funded the remodeling of one of them, which was meant to become a youth hostel for the summer season.
Father Diaz decided to offer the available rooms to a few of the many Ukrainian families that are expected to enter the country in the following months.
“It is estimated that 900,000 Ukrainian refugees will reach Italy, which already has the largest Ukrainian community in Europe,” stated Delmonaco while asking for donations on social media. “They will need immediate care and ongoing support. We are ready to help them.”
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The goal is to collect $16,500 for each refugee, which is the amount a year of assistance is expected to cost. This does not only include room and board but also, and above all, a whole range of projects aimed at integration, with the support of therapists, social workers and educators.
“The biggest problem will be integration, or returning home if they will want to and if the situation will allow it,” commented Father Diaz, speaking of the most sensitive aspects of the accommodation process. “Time will be a challenge. Families need their privacy and community living for a long amount of time can be difficult.”
The director also discussed the changes being implemented in order to make the hostel, which was intended for short stays, suitable to host families with children for about a year. This waiting period, forced by the arrival process that needs to be institutionalized and dealt with by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local authorities, is also being used to find translators and other professionals who will be taking care of the thirty or so people coming to Civitavecchia.
This will be the first time that the Repubblica dei Ragazzi gets involved on a first-hand basis in refugee reception, and they will be able to do so because of the coincidence of having just renovated the ideal space.
“In the past we welcomed unaccompanied minors that were refugees, often arriving to this country illegally,” highlighted Father Diaz. “Some of them came from places such as Afghanistan, others from African countries at war. We are a center meant for kids: we have toys, sports fields, spaces fit for families.”
A Chance in Life is looking for other spaces around Italy where more refugees, escaping a country at war, can be hosted. Demand is, of course, high.
“The New York Times cover from March 7th showed a mother with her two children, killed by a Russian attack while attempting to run away from the war. This image will stay with us forever,” stated Delmonaco. “More mothers, children and men were luckier and able to abandon the country. With your support, A Chance in Life is ready to help them. Insieme, tutto è possibile, together anything is possible.”