Sr. Nieves Crespo at the UISG event in Rome Sr. Nieves Crespo at the UISG event in Rome  #SistersProject

Addressing complexities of migration: Insights from Sisters-led dialogue

The International Union of Superiors General holds its second Sisters-led dialogue to discuss migration, with Sr. Nieves Crespo highlighting the importance of education to empower migrants.

By Sr. Georginia Chidalu Ohalete, PHJC

In an interview on the sidelines of the UISG meeting on Monday, Sr. Nieves Crespo, a Salesian Sister on mission to Ethiopia, has told Vatican News that she found her participation in the meeting enriching.

Valuable religious support to the migrants

“To participate is an encounter and is a rich experience, because we are together with different congregations, NGOs and different people who are all focusing on the same point that is migration,” she said.

Reflecting further on the plight of migrants, Sr. Crespo said religious women serve as advocates and support migrants through their work. She said the Church and other humanitarian organisations play a significant role in addressing the needs and rights of migrants by offering hope and a sense of belonging in challenging times.

Speaking about her work in Ethiopia, Sr. Crespo said, “As sisters, we are focused on education, and we are running a very beautiful project with the Global Solidarity Fund in which we are working together and trying to put the best of each congregation, all in all five congregations.”

It is a pilot project bringing solutions to some of the problems refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) face.

She added that as religious congregations “we have realized that in the moment that they get technical skills and life skills, these girls (we empower) through the work recover their dignity because they have been suffering and struggling a lot,” narrated the Salesian Sister.

Emotional support for migrants

Shedding light on the discussion from the Sisters-led dialogue on migration, Sr. Crespo further disclosed that one key point is education.

“Education in all over the world is needed because education changes one’s mentality and reasoning,” she said.

Sr. Crespo urged all individuals to change the way they look at people who are different “based on their background, religion, culture, and who have different ways of doing and of living … On the contrary, people to see them (migrants) as citizens who are called to build together the reality of our world,” said Sr. Crespo.

Political approach as a key point

Finally, Sr. Crespo emphasized that the issues of migration need a coherent political approach. The message should be to educate and encourage people to think together as global citizens.

The UISG Sisters-led dialogue on migration brought together policymakers, migration experts, social researchers, social workers, women religious, media practitioners, and NGOs from various countries.

The one-day conference will help foster international dialogue, knowledge exchange, and the development of innovative solutions to the complex reality of migration.

Listen to the full interview

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04 July 2023, 16:02