The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town is a non-profit organisation that strives to alleviate poverty by promoting development in the Western Cape and by offering assistance to refugees and their children. The ultimate aim is fostering the integration of refugees/migrants into local communities. Perceiving migration as an opportunity, the Scalabrini Centre offers development and welfare programmes to the migrant and local communities of Cape Town. In providing our assistance, we use a holistic approach that considers all basic needs and our human rights.
Employment Access Programme:
The Employment Access Programme falls under the ambit of the Development Projects of the Scalabrini Centre. The aim of the project is to facilitate the socioeconomic integration of refugees, migrants and South Africans through improving their access to employment. This Programme consists of the Employment Help Desk which provides clients with support in CV/Cover letter writing, opening email accounts and making job applications; the Foreign Professionals Desk, which assists highly qualified clients with translations of qualifications and registration processes within their sectors as well as training sponsorships and customised job searches; and the Workshop Programme, which offers digital literacy and job readiness skills workshops.
The Scalabrini Centre Advocacy Programme offers legal advice and practical assistance with a special focus on vulnerable individuals, with the aim to ensure that their rights are respected. While the programme takes on any kind of issues related to discrimination due to someone’s nationality, the programme has a particular focus on the needs and protection of persons affected by xenophobic violence, disabled refugees, and protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. In addition to assisting individuals, the programme also conducts ‘higher level’ advocacy with the aim to change legislation and ensure the implementation of existing laws and procedures.
The Welfare Department offers services to people unable to meet the most basic of human needs for themselves and their families. Through the Welfare Desk, clients’ situation is assessed and support can be offered through direct assistance or referrals. Scalabrini Centre believes that a sense of well-being is essential to achieving sustainable livelihood. Welfare clients must demonstrate a willingness to work alongside the Welfare team, supporting the change in their own life circumstances. The desk also manages a limited direct assistance programme which offers specific support to emergency and special cases in the form of free clothing and/or access to other material assistance.
One of the biggest obstacles migrants and refugees face when looking for a job is their lack of language skills. The Scalabrini Centre’s English School strives to provide a low cost service aimed at eliminating this language barrier, focusing on communication skills in order to facilitate a socioeconomic integration while providing opportunities for networking and community building.
Presently the English School enrolls around 350 students per term from a variety of African countries. Classes run from Monday to Friday each week, offering five levels from Beginners to Advanced. The Scalabrini English School has developed a South African based curriculum designed to assist our clients with their integration in Cape Town. English In SA is taught in several of our beginners’ level courses. Classes are taught by a team of 10 to 14 volunteer teachers who donate their time. In addition the English School offers the Read and Write programme for those students who struggle with literacy. Our extracurricular programme, English Alive, offers students the opportunity to participate in: Human Rights Club, Drama Group, Debate, Maths, Pronunciation and Grammar classes, Afrikaans, and Body Mapping Workshops at no additional cost. At the end of each course students have the opportunity of writing a test and receiving a certificate at graduation.
Scalabrini Centre aims at integrating refugees and migrants within communities in South Africa. To facilitate this process it is important to establish and consolidate networks with local communities and grassroot organisations. The Outreach Programme aims at expanding our activities in order to be able to reach the communities where migrants and refugees live. The idea is to strengthen our relationships with South African organisations which are active in advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees.
A series of programmes has been designed and implemented to promote dialogue and foster community development. Current programmes are the ‘Unite As One’ campaign, The Women’s Platform and the Cultural Orientation Programme.
More information about these programmes can be found at: http://www.scalabrini.org.za