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Island governments of Formentera and Eivissa chart joint strategy on care for underage minors

reunio---benestar-social1Formentera and Eivissa's councillors of social welfare, Rafael Ramírez and Carolina Escandell, met today on Formentera for a working meeting where discussion centred on various issues affecting the departments, including the arrival of underage minors on the shores of the Pine Islands. Ramírez and Escandell redefined the strategic lines of action and inter-council collaboration in response to a situation they said had “caught everyone off guard” and which, amid the arrival of watercraft on local shores in recent months, “has exceeded any predictions”.

Conseller Ramírez underscored cooperation between the islands, remarking the special nature of the situation and speaking of saturation at the level of the island councils, including Mallorca: “This is why coordination with our regional and national institutions is vital, so we can guarantee migrants' ability to find their place here and thrive socially”. Ramírez said Formentera's social welfare office would take on new personnel in order to follow the youths' cases, and insisted more resources would be needed to ensure the minors' proper care.

For her part, Consellera Escandell described “an emergency no one anticipated and that none of the other island councils had dealt with before”. “Guardianship of underage persons is something we've managed until now, but numbers this year are beyond any predictions”, said the councillor. “All the means at our disposition are outstripped”, she asserted, “we're talking about having to double capacity; no one expected that, and we believe that for the time being, it's going to continue”. Escandell agreed with Ramírez that the circumstances “require support from Palma and Madrid” and said Formentera and Eivissa's two governments would meet periodically to “keep exploring new areas of collaboration and new synergies”.

“There isn't going to be one single fix here”, insisted the Eivissa councilwoman: “We need the strength of many if we intend to give these youth the resources they need”.

And finally, the two councillors highlighted the work of department staff: “We decision-makers can draw strategic lines of action, but the ones dealing with this situation —the dedicated ones, out there on the ground— are the employees of local Formentera and Eivissa governments. That's important”.

29 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

As Formentera prepares for arrival of migrants on coasts, Consell educates islanders on steps to follow

image51Alejandra Ferrer, president of the Consell de Formentera, Rafael Ramírez, Formentera’s chief of social welfare, and Enrique Sánchez Navarrete, Madrid’s envoy in the Pine Islands, told island residents about efforts public administrations have made in recent months in response to the arrival of migrants on Formentera’s coast.

Attendees of the Casa del Poble event heard about the response when watercraft arrive unannounced, the first stage of assistance that migrants receive, the status new arrivals are given depending on whether they are adults or minors, and subsequent steps they are expected to take. Also on hand at the gathering were Formentera’s interior councillor Josep Marí, local police chief Félix Ramos and, commanding officer of the Formentera barracks, José María Estévez.

The president highlighted the “remarkable coordination that takes place between the distinct administrations when migrants arrive on the island” and saluted “the extraordinary efforts of Formentera’s Department of Social Welfare, even weekends”. “We are acutely aware of the humanitarian emergency this represents”, said Ferrer, “and know that, if migrants are braving this crossing, it’s the result of a bigger problem that requires political and social solutions. We’ve pushed for such measures in plenary assemblies”.

Councillor Ramírez pointed out that the support offered by the Consell, available by request, “includes food, clothing, footwear and, if necessary, orientation towards healthcare services”. When migrants are under age, said Ramírez, the local Formentera government is responsible for them: “National police oversee their identification, then staff assess the minor’s situation and the individual becomes responsibility of the Consell de Formentera until the age of eighteen”.

Authority in cases of irregular arrivals lies with the central government. Madrid’s envoy gave an overview of the steps that are taken when a boat arrives unannounced on local shores, what services are offered and what happens to migrants afterwards.

25 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera reports on rules changes for local volunteers

reunio---voluntaris1The social welfare division of the Consell de Formentera hosted a gathering of representatives from volunteer groups on the island to discuss recently enacted legislation on volunteering in the Balearic Islands.

Social welfare conseller Rafa Ramírez talked to the crowd of roughly thirty about the principal changes ahead in how volunteer work is organised, and its uncoupling from public institutions. He pledged local government would “provide the support and impulse that local volunteering needs”. Yesterday, a group volunteers showed interest in creating an association that would coordinate training and organising.

Representatives of the Govern balear will be on Formentera on 22 November to host a training session for local volunteers. The Consell encourages everyone, in a group or solo, to take part in the event. As those in the crowd were reminded at last night’s event, 5 December is International Volunteering Day.

24 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Volunteer info session at Casal d’Entitats

voluntaris-el-dia-de-la-festa-1The social welfare division of the Consell de Formentera reports that this Wednesday 23 October the Casal d’Entitats will host an information session about volunteering.

Details will be provided about new legislation governing volunteer work in the Balearic Islands, efforts to create a local volunteer corps in compliance with the new rules, and workshops on 22 November and International Volunteer Day on 5 December. The info session is geared toward not only comapnies that work with volunteers, but regular islanders who work as voluneers themselves. For more information, contact rmi@conselldeformentera.cat

22 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera dedicates October to trans* depathologisation

diatrans 2019 v6 imprimir-1-The equality and LGTBI arm of the Consell de Formentera announced its activities calendar for the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation, which falls on the third weekend in October. Department chief Vanessa Parellada said the programme is “about normalising a multiplicity of gender identities, making them more visible and upending the connotations of pathology that can cling to them”.

Tuesday 22 October at 8.00pm in the Marià Villangómez library a discussion/colloquium on Antoni Roig Roselló’s Todos los parques no son un paraíso with the author. Roig’s 1977 novel is based on first-person narration from Antoni, a man trapped between two loves: his religious calling and his sexual orientation. After publication, the novel became a finalist for the Planeta Award, and Roig himself was kicked out of the order of the Unshod Carmelites. The event will be moderated by Toni Martí (Sa clau de s’armari) and Miquel Costa (Espai_F).

Tuesday 29 October at 7.00pm, the Sala de Cultura-Cinema will screen Me llamo Violeta. At the core of the 76-minute documentary film is a declaration made by Ignacio, the six-year-old child of Nacho Vidal and Franceska Jaimes: “I’m a girl; my name’s Violeta”.

The moving exploration of gender diversity captivated crowds at the Málaga Film Festival, where it won Audience Pick, not to mention DocsBarcelona’s Amnesty International Prize. A discussion forum after the film with members of the group Transitam will also feature the first-hand experiences of the mother of a trans* youth and a person in transition.

Activities at the high school
A host of activities and workshops at IES Marc Ferrer this month are geared towards helping high school students learn about gender diversity and deconstruct stereotypes and the myth of romantic love. The idea, said Councillor Parellada, is to empower teens through education. “Adolescence is such a delicate time in life”, she said: “It’s when we’re constructing our identity”.

The activities programme is put together in partnership with other local government departments too, not least the Department of Culture, which has gone out of its way to create a space for LGTBIQ+ themes in the island’s panoply of cultural programming. “We need to be making sure sexual and gender diversity are the norm throughout society”, said Parellada. “That means all the time; not just the special occasions”.

16 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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