SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Scalabrini Day 2024

Scalabrini Day is traditionally held on the 1st of June to recognize Bishop Scalabrini who advocated for the welfare of migrants. On the 3rd of June, staff members and board members from the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SHIMA), the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town Lawrence House and the Missionaries of St Charles Scalabrini commemorated the memory of St John Scalabrini through a day of recognition.  

Scalabrini Day consisted of a multitude of activities such as a reflection on St John Scalabrini vision, message, and work with the migrants, specifically the Italian migrants who were travelling to America in the 1900s. This was followed by performances from staff members of the Scalabrini Centre showcasing the work that their different platforms/departments do in relation to the mission of the Scalabrini Centre which is to “To welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate, people on the move into local communities.” The Lawrence house team showed how they “welcome” young people into their facility and use the circle of courage to ensure belonging and empowerment. Secondly the Advocacy team’s documentary showed ways in which they “protect” people on the move through ensuring that people have access to their rights and services they need for survival as well as protection from deportation, detention, and arrest. The Wellbeing and Development team highlighted how they “promote” development through the trauma informed approach and by promoting positive change through skills development. This was followed by a performance by the Up learn team reflecting ways in which the Scalabrini Centre “integrate” people on the move through helping them develop CVs, learn English, basic computer skills and also offering some tertiary qualifications, Lastly the Operations team gave a summary of all the activities that the Scalabrini Centre does in welcoming, protecting, promoting and to integrating people on the move into local communities.   

Through these activities, staff members were able to reflect on St John Scalabrini’s work with migrants.  

Following this was a presentation from SIHMA on one of the projects that they are currently working on, titled “The Atlas for African Migration.” A researcher from SIHMA explained the goal of this atlas and how it is relevant to all people in terms of finding information and getting an understanding of human mobility in Africa.  

In reflection of the message from a video that was showed during the event on the life of St John Scalabrini, Fr Filippo Ferraro (Executive Director of SIHMA and the Chairperson of the Scalabrini Centre Board), shared the importance of spirituality as a core mission for the work that is done with migrants who are served by the Scalabrini network. He also highlighted the importance of viewing migration from the immigrant’s perspective. The event was closed by the advocacy department filming a documentary reflecting the deportation system of South Africa. This gave a highlight of the continuous work that still needs to be done to ensure that the rights of migrants in South Africa are protected.  


When working in the field of human mobility, it is crucial to understand the fundamental transformation that migration can provide to a nation. Scalabrini Day provides a day of recognition for the work that is conducted to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants into South Africa.  


Blog By: Paige Poulin


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