Spain – Salesian Social Platforms: "We learned that nobody saves themselves on their own"

06 May 2020

(ANS - Madrid) - During the toughest phase of the pandemic and confinement, all families have had to adapt and learn to live together in isolation, at home, without being able to go out. But what about apartment groups, shelters for migrants and refugees? How do they live and have lived this extraordinary circumstance? The Salesian Social Platforms in Spain count 83 residential resources of this type: centers for emancipation, for migrants, houses for the transition to adult life, centers for applicants for international protection or for refugees in vulnerable situations. Around 700 people live in all these centers. During the period of isolation, their work changed considerably and the educational teams faced an unexpected and unknown situation.

Educators stress the awareness that they have, indeed, taken on the concept of "staying home". Even if each center has its own peculiarities, two elements have become more or less routine,or the new norm. On the one hand, the educational teams that live with young people explain that they have “changed their work shifts: we stay on shifts of 12 hours, 3 days a week and the rest of the days are rest”, specify the educators of the Torrent centers and Valencia of the “María Auxiliadora” Foundation. On the other hand, there were those who continued to carry out their intervention virtually, going to homes if there were emergencies or if the recipients needed medical material. This usually occurs in the context of emancipation projects or for migrants seeking international protection.

“It's a very interesting educational experience because, as they spend so much time together, they value coexistence more and work more on tolerance and on managing frustrations. Before, for any problem, most of them sought refuge in the street, now they must face it and try to solve it,”  the educators explain.

“More specifically, the commitment of educators of other socio-educational programs to planning new recreational or educational activities to make confinement at home lighter should be praised,” explains Ignacio Vázquez, General Director of the Don Bosco Foundation.

The young people of the apartment groups and of the reception houses have adapted to this atypical situation in a responsible and mature way, respecting the protocols, with an exemplary and collaborative behavior. “We Salesians trust young people, they give us lessons on their ability to adapt and resilience. Young people continue to be an opportunity for us to learn and deepen our vocation as educators,” they say.

“This situation will affect the rate of emancipation of some beneficiaries, as finding employment will be much more difficult now, and also for those who are waiting for documents and practices to be resolved, because everything has been delayed,” says Vicente Pérez.

For this reason, Rosana Palomares, Coordinator of the apartments for the emancipation of the Ángel Tomás Foundation, recalls that there is a need for a commitment in which resources are not lacking to assist the most vulnerable groups. And as Ignacio Vázquez points out, “we learned that nobody saves themselves on their own.”


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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