Italian president Sergio Mattarella bestowed the OMRI award on high school teacher Antonio Silvio Calo for his work hosting migrants in November 2015 | Photo: ANSA/Quirinale/Francesco Ammendola
Italian president Sergio Mattarella bestowed the OMRI award on high school teacher Antonio Silvio Calo for his work hosting migrants in November 2015 | Photo: ANSA/Quirinale/Francesco Ammendola

The experience of an Italian family that took six migrants into their home has inspired the EU-funded project Embracin. Their reception model will be replicated in six EU countries.

A model for receiving asylum seekers and refugees created by an Italian family will be replicated in six EU countries: Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, and Sweden. 


Volunteer migrant hosts inspired the project

The three-year project, named Embracin, will receive 1.9 million euros in EU funding. It is based on the volunteer work Antonio Silvio Calo and his family. The Treviso high school teacher and his loved ones hosted six migrants at their home. 

The project will follow the "6+6x6" model, which calls for six migrants for every 5,000 inhabitants and for a group of six workers -- a doctor, a psychologist, a cultural mediator, a lawyer, etc. -- to assist six groups of six migrants each.

'An alternative response to the closing of ports'

In recent days, the nine partners taking part in the initiative met for the first time in Padua, which is spearheading the project. Calo took part in the meeting. 

In the eyes of the Padua town councillor tasked with integration and social inclusion, Marta Nalin, "the Embracin project is open both to families and other networks of people. We want to show that this type of reception can have a positive impact and can provide an alternative response to the closing of ports." 

Hosting survivors of Lampedusa shipwreck 

Calo, a teacher of history and philosophy at the Canova high school in Treviso, was one of four Italian winners of the European Citizen's Prize for his ability to strengthen EU integration and dialogue between populations, putting into practice the values of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

After hundreds of migrants lost their lives in a shipwreck off Lampedusa in 2015, Calo and his family informed the prefect's office that they were willing to host some of the survivors of the shipwreck. Since then, they have hosted six African migrants in their homes for five years. On January 5, Calo announced on Facebook that his ''black children'' had left his home because ''each one of them has found their own home and job'', underscoring that ''our story proves that reception and integration can be done.'' 
 

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