Recognition for youngsters on the city’s family re-unification programmeArriving in an unknown city is not easy, particularly if it’s to stay. This is the context in which youngsters participating in the ninth edition of the ‘A l'estiu, Barcelona t'acull’ [in summer, Barcelona takes you in], project find themselves in. As many as 140 youngsters between 12 and 18 have been able to discover the resources available to them in the city, becoming familiar with the local culture and language and interacting with other youngsters in the same situation.
Seven city libraries served as a meeting point for these groups of youngsters with different languages and cultures as they converge in a new and unfamiliar city which they must get to know and make their own. Because of this, the activities on the programme are set in markets, parks and public squares, where Barcelona’s diversity and reality is best experienced. Participation on the programme is voluntary, with a relaxed family environment where youngsters play a very important role.
The closing act, held in the Saló de Cent chamber in City Hall, saw diplomas awarded to the youngsters, accrediting their participation. They were accompanied at the ceremony by their families. The Deputy Mayor, Jaume Asens, expressed his gratitude for the efforts and perseverance by the youngsters in “losing their fear of Catalan”, telling them that although it can be difficult to go and live in a new city at first, they’re not alone. “You have parents, teachers and friends to support you, and the city government is committed to giving you as much backing as possible”, noted Asens.
The project was conceived in 2009 to respond to the lack of social inclusion action for young people coming to live in Barcelona from other countries. It forms part of the City Council’s New Families programme, which provides follow-up for family re-unification cases.