“I came to Spain to be able to live, but without a job I won’t have a chance”

Nata Mohamed Ihia was born in a Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria and, as a child, spent her holidays in Catalonia with the “Summers in Peace” program. At the end of 2018 she suffered a traffic accident which left her in a wheelchair “without movement from the waist down” and at the end of 2021 she traveled to Bilbao with her brother to receive medical treatment. She left her nine-year-old son there. Today the status of stateless person is recognized, the majority of concessions for stateless persons in Spain are for the Sahrawi populationi, which allows you to have a residence and work permit for five years, which you will have to renew once this period has elapsed.

This 28-year-old girl puts a face in Aragon on the “Tents of Hope” campaign of the NGO Accem which, coinciding with the celebration of Migrants’ Day, wants to value the talent and abilities of refugees as well as the benefits that their integration into the labor market brings to society and the economy. And it is that only 22% of the refugees who have started a process of professional orientation in Aragon end up finding a job, which in most cases is a temporary and low-skilled job.

Mohamed studied until the second year of secondary school, but dropped out “because I had to help my mother and my family”, he says. Now she is perfecting her Spanish at Accem and taking classes at the Official Language School for two days. She is excited about the course she will undertake to obtain a Certificate of Professionalism in Administrative and General Service Auxiliary Operations.

“I came to Spain to be able to live, but without work I won’t have a chance,” he says. I also want people to value people with disabilities like methat they see that we also have talents that can bring a lot to society”.

She dreams of one day being able to take her 9-year-old son with her to Spain. Mohamed and his brother live in an apartment in the Accem shelter as part of the Ministry of Inclusion’s international protection programme. You have subscribed to this plan for ten months and can stay on it for a maximum of 18 months. For this reason, their concern, like that of many people who follow these professional insertion routes, is to find a job and rent an apartment so as not to depend on government aid from the international protection program.

Men between 18 and 29 years old

Over the past eight years, Accem has supported 2,515 refugees in Aragon, 59% of them men and 41% women. With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, people who fled the conflict became the majority nationality, followed by Venezuela, Mali, Colombia, Morocco and Senegal. Regarding age, 43% are between 18 and 29 years old and 55% between 30 and 54 years old. The presence of people over 65 and under is testimony.

The head of Accem in Aragon, Julia Ortega, also draws attention to the level of education: 37% have completed lower secondary education, 29% have completed it and 34% have higher education. In Zaragoza, for the past two years, Accem served 187 people through its Ariadna program for social and professional integration.

“The growth of the Spanish and Aragonese population is made possible by competition from immigration”, he defends, while emphasizing the role that this group plays in work related to family reconciliation and care for the elderly. In 2021 there were 162,349 people of foreign origin in Aragon, which represents 12.2% of the population of the Community, while in 2020 there were 162,048 people.

Up to 300 Ukrainian refugees at Tarazona Seminary

As ten months have passed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Diocese of Tarazona has expressed its satisfaction with the result of the Ukraine project, which has lasted for nine months and thanks to which 300 refugees have been received in the facilities of the Diocesan Seminary . The displaced families who still reside there will leave this place at the end of December to live in apartments in the town of Turiasonense. The volunteers will continue to give them all the help they need.

According to the volunteers behind the initiative, among the exiles who have passed through the Seminary, 60 live in the region and, among them, 54 in Tarazona in rented apartments, some of which belong to the diocese. There are 19 families settled in the city, with a job and living alone. At a timethere are 35 children registered in the educational centres.

Likewise, the Diocese of Tarazona remains open to welcoming new projects in its facilities and appreciates the work of all those involved: volunteers, Accem, town hall, DPZ and the entire Turiasonense society.


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