The #Seguimos campaign promoted by the Society of Jesus has supported several hospitality projects of the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM), including the Arrupe Community of Hospitality. This community is the result of Migra Studium joining forces with the Society of Jesus and the Casal Loiola to respond to the pandemic emergency and strengthen the Hospitality Families Network in Catalonia.
During the first phase of the pandemic, the project responded to the urgent housing needs of many migrants. In a world of closed doors, where hundreds of people lose their lives on their migratory journey, the Arrupe Community welcomes and offers a roof and a home to asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants.
The incorporations to this community have been done progressively and so far the project has made possible the reception of 16 people, with an average of 5 people welcomed simultaneously to ensure a good accompaniment and a family atmosphere. All of them are very active people, and having a home makes it possible for them to continue studying and looking for work.
From the beginning, the volunteers have been at the heart of the project, offering Spanish and Catalan classes, computer classes, leisure activities, help in the vegetable garden, and above all their presence at midday and in the evenings. In the same way, the collaboration of many families who buy food and other basic products on a weekly basis has been fundamental.
Testimony of Anna-bel, involved in the Arrupe Community
“Today the joy has been enormous! Karim came to visit us at the Casal Arrupe. When we saw him, respecting the distances marked by the pandemic, we all greeted him warmly and told him how happy we were that he had come back to visit us. Her heartfelt response was clear and sincere, moving for all of us: “It’s my home!
Who wouldn’t call home that space where he has lived for a while and helped to dress and fill with life, where he has cooked, cleaned, lived with other people, felt welcomed and cared for? It’s my home! As it is now his home, the home of the foster family where he has been lucky enough to go to be able to move on. My home… the importance of feeling expected, accompanied, safe and protected; the need to feel loved because you are loved, simply because you are a person and a person has absolute value; and only another person can help you to heal your wounds and overcome your fears and sadness by listening, loving and tenderness”.
Testimony of Kamal, 20 years old, Morocco
“When I was 17 years old, I decided to cross by boat to Spain in search of a better future in a country where I didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak their language. When I arrived in Barcelona everything was very difficult, first I spent a month and a half on the street sleeping in a park. There I met a man who took me to a police station so that I could enter a centre for minors. As I was only 5 days away from turning 18, I was no longer a minor for the police. They told me that I had to go back to the street, I was blocked.
After some more time on the street, I spent 5 months in shelters. The Hospitality Network project was explained to me. My best stage in Spain began. I spent a year and a half with three different families. It has been a brutal experience, I have learnt a lot of things. I have been able to start studying an intermediate degree, the teachers are very happy with me and I am very happy with them”.