Rome (NEV), November 13, 2020 – UNHCR awarded the “We Welcome” prize for the year 2019 to the CSD Diaconia Valdese (Waldensian Diaconate), in recognition of the “significant commitment shown in promoting specific interventions for the employment of refugees” .
The Welcome project, promoted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has been awarding recognition since 2017 to companies that, in Italy, are committed to promoting the labor integration processes of international protection beneficiaries and have within its own staff refugee employees. This recognition takes place through the bestowal of the logo called “Welcome. Working for refugee integration”, which companies can use in their communication.
Starting from the 2019 edition, UNHCR also wanted to enhance the role of all those entities that, in various capacities, are committed to promoting the inclusion in the labor market of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. To this end, the “We Welcome” category was also created in 2019 to give the logo to cooperatives, associations and other public and private entities that promote the work placement of international protection beneficiaries.
Both the “Welcome. Working for refugee integration” and the “We Welcome” logo are assigned by a specially created Evaluation Committee, made up, among others, by representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Confindustria (Italian Industrial Federation), Global Compact Network Italia and the financial magazine, Il Sole 24 ore.
Through the display of the logo received, companies and organizations pursue, together with the UNHCR, a twofold objective: to witness adherence to an inclusive society model, to prevent and combat feelings of xenophobia and racism towards asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection; assume a share of responsibility in building a society more sensitive to the needs of those forced to leave their country due to wars, conflicts and persecutions.
The Waldensian Diaconia has in recent years assumed the double role thus having the opportunity to present the candidacy to both categories: a company that employs asylum seekers or refugees (Welcome. Working for refugee integration category) and an institution that promotes integration through job placements (We Welcome category). In 2019, 93 internships were activated for asylum seekers and refugees hosted in reception projects throughout the national territory, of which 70 were co-financed, and about 60 work contracts were stipulated in various companies.
The Waldensian Diaconia has chosen to propose the candidacy for the second category as it is more in line with its mission, receiving the “We Welcome” award.
In addition to the Waldensian Diaconate, in recent days, another Protestant reality, the communication company Web&Com of the Waldensian Sergio Velluto, had received the UNHCR recognition for the work done in favor of the integration of refugees.
CEO Sergio Velluto, former President of the Consistory of the Waldensian Church of Turin, collaborator, among other things, for 10 years in the Protestantesimo TV column, author of theatre performances and books, producer since 2004 of the 8 per thousand advertisement campaigns of the Waldensian Board, commented: “We are very pleased to have received this truly prestigious award. The job placement of some young refugees was an added value for us, an enrichment, they really revitalized our environment, which is already very young”.
The Turin agency employs three refugee workers: “a Syrian student of architecture, through a job grant, a computer scientist from the Ivory Coast, whom we hired for an indefinite period (who is at present in France for study purposes) and a Libyan girl expert in the field of communication, also thanks to a scholarship”, explains Velluto. The Piedmontese company is made up of six employees, “the oldest is 32 years old”, emphasizes the manager, plus some external collaborators.
For the future, despite the COVID 19 crisis, Sergio Velluto is counting on continuing to look for talents among refugees: “We made a new hiring at the end of September, because we think that even and especially in times of crisis we must look ahead with confidence”.