Wednesday, 13 March 2013 01:41

A helping hand

0311-1JAÉN, Spain..
"Dozens of immigrants find a helping hand in the Teresian Association," was a headline of the daily news Ideal of Jaén.  The article describes the activities of the  Rajab Project, which is directed by the Teresian Association in this city.  Puri Infante, director of the program, speaks of the need to give visibility to those who "are on the street and we go by them as if they did not exist."

News from the local newspaper

"There was a party this Saturday at Josefa Segovia cultural center of the Teresian Association in Jaén. Pakistani women dressed in traditional costumes, people from Sub-Sahara with a smile, and Jaén volunteers spoke about holidays in their home countries, about a wedding in Urdu Pakistan, learned words in different languages, danced, and enjoyed meals from different countries.  This is another activity of the Rajab project, an initiative of the Teresian Association which counts with twenty volunteers who work to welcome immigrants. "The problem often is that they are invisible, they are on the street and we go by them as if they did not exist," said Puri Infante, one of the project leaders.

The first task of the volunteers is to teach the language, the key to open the gates of the land of welcome. There are about sixty immigrants from Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Pakistan, and Morocco receiving Spanish lessons. There are now three courses with classes for adults and children.

"Teaching the language is a bridge to get closer to them, their problems, and their integration needs," say the volunteers. The other priority of the Rajab project is to advice and support immigrants in their endless journey in search of papers. Social workers help with this task. "For people who are not yet fully documented the issue of documentation is almost an obsession," indicate the volunteers. Communities such as the Pakistanis come as an immigration 'family', which provides a support network for newcomers. But sub-Saharan Africans arrive alone in precarious conditions.

"We are becoming a reference for them. Word of mouth works," notes Puri Infante. The third Wednesday of each month, along with other organizations, they perform 'circles of silence' in the Plaza de la Constitucion. "We must make the problem visible," says Puri.

Some sixty immigrants from Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Pakistan and Morocco are receiving Spanish lessons at the Josefa Segovia Center, Jaén, under the Rajab Project.
  Throughout the year of Faith the Teresian Association has proposed ways to direct its actions seeking justice. In this context this project with a group of volunteers is fitting.




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