A girl who has arrived in Rome's Fiumicino airport |  Source: Twitter Comunità di Sant'Egidio
A girl who has arrived in Rome's Fiumicino airport | Source: Twitter Comunità di Sant'Egidio @santegidionews

Forty refugees arrived in Italy from the Greek island of Lesbos via humanitarian corridors on May 17. Over 3,500 people have reached Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra since 2016 thanks to the project.

A total of 40 refugees were flown from the Greek island of Lesbos to Rome on May 17 thanks to the project of humanitarian corridors.

The Community of Sant'Egidio said in a statement that the refugees belong to nine nationalities including Afghanistan and a number of African countries. They will live in different Italian regions according to the model of humanitarian corridors which has allowed 3,500 people to safely travel to Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra since 2016.

Resolving the situation of refugees in Lesbos

This latest arrival -- which was organized under a protocol signed by the Community of Sant'Egidio and the Italian interior ministry -- was made possible also thanks to the collaboration of Greek authorities and the support of the European Commission.

The Community of Sant'Egidio stressed that "the objective is to resolve the situation of the majority of refugees (families with children, vulnerable people and unaccompanied minors) who have been present on the island for a while waiting to be relocated, with living conditions that have been even more difficult over the last few months due to the effects of the pandemic."

Paths of integration for autonomy

The organization went on to say that all 40 refugees, including 13 minors, have "painful stories" and have fled "countries where wars, violence or unsustainable situations are ongoing."

Now they will "finally look at the future with hope thanks to a project that is the outcome of precious synergies of civil society and self-financed."

Hospitality in nine different regions (Lazio, Lombardy, Liguria, Piedmont, Sicily, Puglia, Molise, Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige) is offered by Sant'Egidio as well as by Protestant Churches, parish churches and associations like the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII.

Adults will be invited to take free Italian courses and minors will be immediately enrolled in school. In this way, Sant'Egidio said, the integration process will begin for everybody.

"Paths to integration will aim for autonomy also thanks to their progressive inclusion in the labor market," the organization concluded.


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