The European Research Institute is engaged, since spring 2015, in projects of reception and integration of immigrants. One of these is Welcome, carried out by a multidisciplinary staff that operates in two offices – Turin and Alexandria – that in addition to the administrative aspects, is dedicated to the daily needs of a group of immigrants and asylum seekers, their health and psychological and legal support, valuing the recreational aspects and vocational training aimed to provide job placement. The facilities managed by the association host 69 people: 29 in Turin and 40 in Alessandria.
In Turin, the operative offices are two: one is located in a historic building on Via Cernaia and houses 12 individuals (8 Gambians, 3 Ghanaians and 1 Pakistan person); the other one, a university hostel under the protection of Superintendence of Fine Art (Soprintendenza delle Belle arti) located in Foligno, welcomes 16 Pakistans. ERI is committed to the promotion and realization of activities promoting the integration of young people in the local social fabric, like the ones related to education (for instance, the Italian classes organized by ERI). Some of the hosts are attending the CPIA (Provincial centers for adult education) for the achievement of the lower secondary school, vocational school and the Politecnico di Torino.
ERI considers sport particularly important in facilitating the integration of immigrants: for instance, four of the people living in Via Cernaia are part of the football team Madonna di Campagna and the Pakistani guests founded the Torino Cricket Club, a team that takes part in the national cricket championship. They also have formed, with the active support of ERI, a football team and have participated in the tenth edition of Balon Mondial, the world cup of the migrant communities in Turin. Furthermore, some of the guests attends a body building gym agreed upon the association. In addition to promoting the integration, ERI works to ensure that the migrants find a job that best suit their skills and experience. Some of them are engaged in the project of Ecoeducation and New Sociabilities (P.E.N.SO.), initiative that aims to enable, through the recruitment of people belonging to certain categories (former prisoners, asylum seekers enrolled in the Center for employment, disadvantaged people reported by social services), a service aimed at the realization of interventions of social housing and the handling of furniture and recycled furniture, which will be reallocated according to the information provided by social services.
Two other Pakistani guests are already engaged in employment: one is a baker and the other one works as a language mediator for the Police and the Prefecture. The numbers are growing: two other Gambians have indeed found a job through the mediation and intervention of the ERI staff. The association also plans to implement, in cooperation with several urban realities including the City of Turin, a volunteer project that will involve the migrants and will be held at the Porta Palazzo market. The migrants will act in this case as “ecological sentinels”, to support the management of collection and disposal of waste. ERI houses 44 people in Alessandria, 33 of them in the city and 11 in the countryside, in Solero. The services offered follow those made for the group of guests in Turin, heading in the direction of a concrete implementation of training work projects and sports activities able to provide real integration opportunities.