STRONG and CREATE: our two flagship programmes
Much of the work of Adjuvantes now is organised around carrying forward these two programmes. As we explained in the 2020 Report, STRONG was launched in 2018 to give migrants and refugees access to education in the social sciences. STRONG is an upgraded, “daughter” programme of “Studio Realtà” which Adjuvantes had been running since 2007. Meanwhile, CREATE, aimed at spreading knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching in the Central and Eastern European region and at creating regional solidarity and developing public intellectuals, was launched in 2021. Here we present the stories of two of our students who have completed degree programmes with us as part of the STRONG programme.
I have always been a social justice warrior with an innate calling to help smooth out the wrongs in my world. Inheriting civic activism from my parents, I become a member of the “Dacia” cultural association, which aims to preserve and promote Romanian traditions, our faith, our traditional dress, our culture and literature. But I soon realized that in order to actually help the Romanian community integrate into a multi-ethnic society like that of Rome, it is not enough just to organize events, many of which were done within our own group. I strongly believe that migrants are an asset for the place in which they come to live and that they can and must actively participate in their communities. Because of this believe, in 2016 I became a member of the “Alleanza dei Romeni in Italia” and in 2017 the Vice President of the Rome branch. One of the most important objectives of the ARI association is to inform Romanian citizens residing in Italy about their rights, such as the right to participate in administrative elections; but also to involve them in public life; to motivate them to take part in the development of the place in which they live and raise their children.
Being born into a Romanian family to whom communism had prevented from practicing the faith and despite this we are all baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I find it unacceptable that in this moment of history when we (still) have freedom of faith, not to take my children to mesa in the Orthodox churches, even if they were born in Italy. I happily participated in the charity campaigns started by the Romanian Priests to help those who are in a difficult situation here in Italy or in Romania. For this reason I consider it a blessing to have been accepted in 2019 to do a Master's course in "Management of Third Sector Organizations and Social Enterprises" offered by Adjuvantes ONLUS, through the program STRONG offered by the University San Thomas Aquinas of Rome. I welcomed this opportunity for personal and professional growth with great enthusiasm and with great responsibility towards my community of ethnic origin, and towards the community that adopted me. Apart from the wonderful experience of being able to interact directly with people from different cultures and different parts of the world, this course has offered me a lot of practical information and very useful knowledge for the management of the Cultural Associations which I am part of. Thanks to this course, I found answers to many questions and came up with many others. During the year of study, the opportunity presented itself to me to participate in the “Identity and Belonging” research under the guidance of Prof. Antonio Urso. The aim of the research was to try to understand "what difficulties the migrant encounters in the construction of his identity" – a question that, for me, remains essential and always relevant to the world we live in. The “ORIENTATION” course proposed by the Faculty of Social Sciences, thanks to the availability of the teacher Dr. Giovanna Marini, was more than welcome at a critical moment when many lost their jobs due to the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 rules. Despite the difficulties brought by the pandemic crisis that hit us in the middle of the academic year, the university was up to par to better manage the situation, finding solutions to give us the opportunity to proceed with our studies, even in those conditions of shutdowns and distances. Professors Marina Russo and Valerio Pierleoni have been and continue to be valiant supporters for all their students, not only on a technical level but also on a moral level.
The satisfaction of all the knowledge acquired thanks to the possibility of returning to the schools after so many years, has awakened a hunger to know, to understand more, which I tried to fulfill by enrolling in the Baccalaureate course of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Last year I was the first year of the first BAC cycle of the TUTOR program and I had promised myself to make the most of this great opportunity, so I applied for the role of student representative. Participating in the Faculty Council was another formative experience. Surprisingly, the pandemic has also had its positive effects for our university community. Apart from the fact that all of us, students and teachers, improved our skills in using new technologies, we also had the possibility of attending remote lessons, for the TUTOR students - who for the most part, are hardworking, very helpful and appreciated by students. Today I am in the second year of the first cycle, and instead of feeling full of knowledge I feel hungrier than ever, perhaps because the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. This year I enrolled in the Joint Diploma - Integral Ecology course, this year's theme is: “Towards a theology of creation for the life of the common house. The only thing I regret is not having enough time to participate in the numerous courses, projects, research offered by the university for our personal and professional growth.
"Anything that has value in human society depends on the opportunities for progress that are accorded to each individual." Albert Einstein
I would always be grateful and devoted to the society that the University San Thomas Aquinas has offered me.
Victoria Grosu Vremes
My name is Saif Eddine Abouabid, I am 37 years old and I am originally from Morocco, I am married and father of two wonderful children.
I’m responsible for social projects at a company in Lombardy and I think I was one of the few students at the Angelicum of non-Catholic faith as I am of Islamic faith. I am in the first year of the second cycle of study at the Angelicum after having completed the Baccalaureate course in this faculty. As a subject of study I chose the faculty of social sciences with a specific address in political science and international relations, a subject that has always fascinated me since I was young. The possibility to study in this faculty has enriched me a lot from a human, academic and religious point of view.
The subjects studied have really helped me to understand and better read our current situation through the eyes of great thinkers, philosophers, sociologists and men of faith. The training offered by the Angelicum is truly complete from the point of view of learning and has put me in a position to apply what I have studied in my daily life, both in social relations with the people I know and in my work and social activism in which I have been engaged for at least twenty years.
The skill, the ability and the competence of the professors, of the organizational structure and of the administration of the University, have made these years of study even more interesting and sustainable despite the distance between my city and Rome and despite the commitments I have as a worker, as a father, and as an exponent and activist at the national level of the second Italian generations.
I have been very happy to learn about and study aspects of the Catholic faith not known to me, moving from papal encyclicals and the social doctrine of the church to social thought and social bioethics. It was interesting to be able to combine this with anthropology, psychology, statistics and sociology.
I also had a lot of pleasure in participating in both the first year and the second year of the baccalaureate course in two research projects promoted by the University, the first year with the professor of political economy and economic policy with professor Colombi entitled: Socio-Economic Contributions of Migrants' Enterprises in Rome; the second year with professor D'Urso professor of psychodynamics of development and social psychology entitled: Identity and cultural belonging.
Also this kind of educational activity of the faculty has helped us to put into practice the scientific and behavioral notions learned during the years of study, and has also put us in a position to study migratory phenomena that have a strong impact on our society.
Saif Eddine Abouabid
Financial Summary at 31/06/2021
Compared to recent years, the income from July 1 2020 to June 30 2021 is not as high as it has been, but overall, we are supporting more students to study with us because the migrants who register with us are already living in Rome so we do not need to provide accommodation for them. In fact, we will be moving out of providing accommodation entirely in the next year.
In 2021-2022, we will have more students on full scholarships, as part of the CREATE programme, so the amount dedicated to scholarships will rise.
In presenting these accounts, we decided to create a new heading, “programme management”. This is because, as we said, the two programmes STRONG and CREATE account for much of the activity of Adjuvantes in this period of its history. This figure covers the costs Adjuvantes needs to incur in running those two programmes, including the time dedicated to them by our staff, including that which is dedicated to programme monitoring and accounting, and other related costs.
Looking ahead . . .
In January 2021, we launched the CREATE programme. This includes 5 types of activity: the convening once a year of a council of experts from the CEE region to help us run the project effectively and to produce a volume of research together each year; a prize for an essay by a young person on some aspect of CST related to the CEE region; research scholarships for doctorate and post-doctorate Dominican students; research scholarships for doctorate and post-doctorate lay students, and a one semester intensive programme of courses in CST for students who are writing a thesis at the master’s or doctorate level and who would like to include elements of CST in their work. In 2021 we were able to run the competition for the first time and awarded the prize to a young scholar from Slovakia. The three top essays are currently being published in a book entitled: “Human Flourishing: Reflections from the Catholic Tradition in Central Europe”. We have also been able to recruit doctorate and post-doctorate students, and will tell you something about their progress in future reports. The first intensive semester of courses on CST will run between February and May 2022.
We could do none of this work without the support of our donors, so we thank you very much, as always, for your support.
Francesco Compagnoni, O.P., President, Adjuvantes Onlus Helen Alford, O.P., Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences