JRS Europe’s campaign I Get You named as an example of social innovation

17 May 2018

I Get You is one of the projects highlighted in a report from FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) and the Boston College Center for Social Innovation. I Get You was chosen as an example of socially innovative responses to the needs of refugees and migrants.

I Get You answers the crucial question that we have today as individuals, communities and countries: do you choose isolation or inclusion? If people feel welcomed, loved and supported they will reach their potential. Nothing could be more win-win than that,” says JRS Europe director Jose Ignacio Garcia SJ. Welcome, friendship and a sense of belonging are the first steps to integration.

The Center for Social Innovation at the Boston College School of Social Work surveyed more than 170 programs carried out by Catholic organizations. Their aim was to identify innovative projects reflecting Catholic social values that were creating an impact in society.

I Get You has its roots in Jesuit Refugee Service’s experience of accompanying refugees all over the world. JRS Europe and its partners launched I Get You in 2016 to map and analyse how locals and refugees organised different community building initiatives together. It is not sufficient to address discrimination and racism through enacting laws that establish specific offenses or provide enhanced penalties for racism and hate crimes, but it is also necessary to challenge public perceptions and promote encounters between migrants and locals.

After two years of in-depth research, JRS Europe analysed 315 grassroots refugee initiatives across 9 EU countries. These community building initiatives bring migrants and locals together for activities and are breaking down fear and stereotypes by creating mutual trust through encounter.

The outcomes of the research, with Guidelines for Best Practices for Community Building Initiatives and policy recommendations for EU institutions were published in the I Get You European report.

The campaign included the elaboration of a European video, which contains highlights from all 9 national videos. They cover a huge range of communities and activities:

Belgium: Flavia, a refugee from East Africa is hosted by Brussels local, Brigitte

Croatia: Cooking project ‘Taste of Home’ in Zagreb

France: A Christian family from Iraq find refuge in the Taize community

Malta: Mohamed from Sudan set up an association and works as a car painter

Italy: ‘Luz y Norte Musical’ are a band of locals and refugees who perform concerts

Germany: Locals in Plauen, eastern Germany call for integration not isolation

Romania: Meet Syrian rapper, Ali, at Timisoara cultural festival

Spain: Local students support Moroccan youth migrants in Bilbao

Portugal: Meet a Syrian family living in Nazare

FADICA’s report also includes the project ‘Little Ripples’ run by JRS in Chad.

Access FADICA’s study ‘Catholic social innovation in the global refugee crisis’ here.

Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) is a non-profit association that works to strengthen and promote Catholic philanthropy. FADICA’s Catholic Social Innovation Initiative seeks to expand the understanding, engagement, and support for high impact social innovation within discrete sectors of Catholic ministry. The Initiative identifies uniquely Catholic, innovative, high-impact approaches through the research and discovery of one particular challenge or issue each year for three years.