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”la Caixa” Foundation allots 1.6 million euros to initiatives seeking integration and better living conditions for immigrants

Barcelona, 23 May 2003

Programmes aimed at the protection of minors, shelters, programmes for interculturalism, and training and labour insertion projects. These are only some of the initiatives promoted by the non-profit organisations selected by ”la Caixa” Foundation through its 2003 Immigration Programme. The Foundation has earmarked 1.6 million euros for this year’s edition, to be distributed among 104 selected projects, the majority of which coincide in stressing employment and housing as fundamental factors for the social integration of immigrant groups currently in situations of risk or social marginality. Since the Immigration Programme got underway five years ago, ”la Caixa” Foundation has collaborated with 400 initiatives, allotting them close to 6 million euros.

”la Caixa” Foundation backs initiatives which, launched by non-profit organisations throughout the country, seek to foster integration and improved quality of life for the different immigrant groups. It is doing so through 104 initiatives which have been set up by Spain’s different civic organisations and selected by the 2003 Immigration Programme. The programme is part of its Social Initiative Competitions, created in 1999 and focused on groups of people on the verge of marginality or social exclusion.

Of the 104 projects chosen by the Programme this year, 34 have been launched by initiatives set up by civic organisations in Catalonia. The breakdown of the other projects selected and distributed throughout the different Autonomous Communities is as follows: Madrid (18), Andalusia (10), Community of Valencia (10), Castile – La Mancha (7), Aragon (5), Castile and Leon (5), Murcia (4), Canary Islands (3), La Rioja (2), Melilla (2), Balearic Islands (1), Basque Country (1), Extremadura (1) and Navarre (1).

Training and labour insertion

The chief objective of the initiatives selected in the 2003 Immigration Programme is to shelter, look after and integrate the immigrant population, normalising its situation and increasing its training and labour insertion through proper linguistic and vocational preparation. The main area of intervention is education, especially for minors, as the finest, most fundamental tool for achieving social integration. To reach this goal, ”la Caixa” Foundation backs a range of activities from literacy courses to programmes that teach the language of origin, to ensure that immigrants do not lose their cultural roots after joining their adopted society.

Other projects with which the Foundation collaborates emphasise vocational training through pre-employment workshops and courses, and management and promotion of resources such as employment exchanges and labour insertion centres. It is a mission which is complemented by information, orientation and mediation actions to guide immigrants in the different bureaucratic processes such as the processing of documents, access to housing, schooling of children, job hunting and so on.

The Foundation also collaborates with non-profit organisations specialising in implementing projects for the temporary sheltering of needy immigrants in different types of centres: emergency shelters, such as those that care for immigrants who land illegally on the Canary Islands and Andalusian coasts, or those for minors or women who have become victims of prostitution rings and/or illegal traffic of human beings. One last field of action of the non-profit organisations with which the Foundation collaborates is the promotion of programmes that foster mutual knowledge as the basic tool for putting an end to discrimination, xenophobia and situations of exclusion.

Other initiatives

”la Caixa” Foundation allots a very sizeable part of its budget to social programmes, including the different Social Initiative Competitions. Set up in 1999, these programmes collaborate with non-profit organisations throughout the country that work with groups facing social exclusion. It should be added, however, that the Foundation also devotes special attention to encouraging the participation of senior citizens in society, to those with mental illness and disabilities, to research into Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, to AIDS prevention and information programmes, and to international cooperation projects.

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