Fundraising for the EUI’s Refugee Initiative: How much and what for?

The majority of the financial costs of the EUI Refugee Initiative are covered by Caritas. Due to the peculiarities of the EUI as a host, however, some costs have been taken up by the institution itself, and the EUI community. The institution first renovated the flats in which our guests are living, and funds their lunches at the cafeteria. Thanks to the participation of the community we have been able to continue funding our guests’ education and mobility, as well as to co-fund some of their social and cultural activities, thus helping them at every level to integrate as well as possible in Italian society.

Many EUI members have attended and volunteered for the two memorable aperitivos organized last year to raise money to ensure the viability of the project in all its specificity. We organized twice teams of thirty-odd cooks, who toiled to prepare meals to feed about one hundred and fifty hungry mouths. Both times the food disappeared within the first hour. More importantly, these occasions allowed us to raise 1900€ in May 2016, when the aperitivo concluded a week of fundraising, and over 1350€ in October 2016. With this, we have been able to secure enough funds for the full first year of the initiative.

In addition to several individual donations, it was a delight to see two further fundraising initiatives coming from groups within the community around Christmas time. First, the EUI Rowing Club ran a fantastic Christmas kit sale, raising 265€ to be dedicated to our guests’ athletic endeavours. Second, our colleagues of the Robert Schuman Centre organized a fundraiser alongside their ‘Secret Santa’ raising a further 80€ for the initiative.

But, you may ask, what, specifically, has been done with that money?

We have been able to ensure that our six guests could purchase various textbooks (for languages, mathematics, sciences), as well as register for exams – such as the CELI Italian language exam or the ‘Terza Media’ general exams – that are often a prerequisite for any kind of further education or work here in Italy. Moreover, though we have been able to collect second-hand bicycles free of charge for our guests, money was spent on putting them back in working condition, maintaining them, and purchasing locks – a crucial accessory in Florence!

Lastly, these funds have allowed us to co-fund cultural outings such as concerts (for example, Fatouma Traoré’s last concert in Florence) and other activities like the Iftar picnic held on World Refugee Day in 2016. Many of these outings were organized jointly by members of the EUI community and the asylum seekers living at the Badia. It has then been our policy not to metaphorically hold the hand of our guests by simply shouldering the full costs, but rather to assist their autonomy, and therefore allow them to attend the events that they really wish to attend, by covering half the costs, and having them cover the rest.

It is to all this, then, that the EUI community has been contributing, and it is our hope that it will continue to do so. The peculiarities of our project, and its success, depend in large part on it.

If you wish to help the EUI Refugee initiative, donations of any amount are welcome by wire transfer. Please contact [email protected] for banking details.