Reggio Emilia leads the SAFE project aimed at empowering families of foreign origin through schools

Reggio Emilia, Italy, April 2014 – The city of Reggio Emilia (Italy) leads the European project SAFE (School Approaches for Family Empowerment), the aim of which is to promote social integration of foreign families through initiatives that involve local schools that have students of foreign origin. Partners in the project are the cities of Arezzo and Turin (Italy), and Lewisham (UK). The Italian Intercultural Centre Mondinsieme is also involved. SAFE is co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of non-EU immigrants and the Italian government.

The project meetings will take place in the Italian partner cities and in Lewisham, one of the most populated suburbs of London, with study visits of schools and organisations that work on relations between youngsters and their families.

SAFE is based on the method of networking: Reggio Emilia, Turin, and Arezzo are part of the Italian Networks of Intercultural Cities, while Reggio Emilia and Lewisham are members of the Intercultural Cities programme of the Council of Europe. It aims also to reach and involve civil servants, intercultural mediators, school managers, and families. It has been developed to give schools a central role in the process of social integration of foreign families and to promote the skills and social capital of second generation youths, who account for 35% of the foreign population in Italy.

Moreover, the project aims to find suitable means for the social inclusion of families and to foster dialogue and networking among partner cities. The main results expected from the project are to:

• gain knowledge on and analyse policies and practices related to the support given to foreign families at school and through educational processes, both at national and European level;

• foster exchange and debate, and benchmark best European practices and experiences;

• put in place a structured system allowing to transfer good practices in order to disseminate policies supporting families through school.

In order to facilitate the exchange of experiences, partners organise meetings, workshops and networking tools, among which a social media page accessible at the following address:

SAFE strives to gather the support of local authorities, teachers and cultural mediators at every stage of the project, with the aim of developing policies that support foreign families. Good practices gathered during the project will be presented in a specific on-line tool and will be the basis for drawing up guidelines for the development of policies supporting families through schools.

For more information (website in Italian):