Part of the educational outreach of the French Spiritans is focused on unaccompanied migrant children who arrive in France after long and dangerous journeys from the middle east or from across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea. The ones who make it to France are the lucky ones. Many others tragically lose their lives in their search for a better life.
Of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who have made it to France about 1,500 of them are welcomed and cared for by Apprentis d’Auteuil which is part of the Spiritan mission to care for children and young people in difficulty.
The first COVID lockdown, in 2020, brought increased levels of anxiety and fear to the young people in our residences. They couldn’t go out, contact with families was very difficult and the constant news items highlighting the crisis only brought more stress. One of the main challenges was the movement of personnel, and the fear of contracting and spreading the virus.
With this in mind, many of the educators, and social and pastoral workers in the residences opted to move into the residences full-time to accompany the young people through this time of crisis. They organised different activities for the residents and made sure that their education would continue. Birthdays were celebrated and games played.
These educators were Christian or Muslim or had no religious belief at all. In a time of need they chose to stay by the side of the young people they accompany. By their presence and service, they drank from the same cup of the young people.