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Rome Reports

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Refugee center called for by Pope Francis offers hope to women


This house in Rome has become a safe-haven for many women. Here lodging, meals, and support is offered to refugee women from all over the world. The project is called "Chaire Gynai," Greek for "Welcome women."

This center was requested by Pope Francis and carried out by the Scalabrinian Missionary Sisters. They welcome single mothers and young women who have been forced to flee their countries. Sr. Eleia came from Brazil to participate in this project.

SR. ELEIA
Scalabrinian Sister, “Chaire Gynai”
“We started with this project last June and work in this house. We have welcomed 13 women and seven children. There are about 20 people in the house. The women come from different countries, mostly from the African continent.”

The women can stay from six months to a year. This is the length of time the center and psychologists determine each woman needs in order to regain stability, pay rent, and integrate into society.

SR. ELEIA
Scalabrinian Sister, “Chaire Gynai”
“The typical day starts early. The women begin leaving for work around 7 a.m. even a little earlier. In order to participate in this project, they must have a job, even if it is a small job. We then help them find better ones.”

When the women and children return from work and school, they all eat together. They have become a small family.

TABITHA KASONGO
Refugee, “Chaire Gynai” project
“I'm very comfortable in this house. We respect each other and respect is fundamental. What I like most about the center is that respect.”

Tabitha was eight years old when she had to leave Congo to come to Italy with her family. Her mother was a political refugee. Now she is in Rome with her three-year-old daughter.

TABITHA KASONGO
Refugee, “Chaire Gynai” project
“Ever since I was a little girl, my dream has always been to be a journalist. I hope to be able to achieve it in the future.”

She has a dream, as do all these children who accompany their mothers in this transitional period. Thanks to projects like this one, they will have more opportunities to fulfill them in the future.