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Fifteen students graduate from integration course

Foto curs integracio novembre 2015On Thursday, 26 November, a group of fifteen students and one professor held the final session of a course on social and cultural integration. The short course was organised by the immigration office of the CiF department of social welfare and held in Formentera's adult learning centre, l'Escola d'Adults. Department head Vanessa Parellada was on hand to personally hand out certificates attesting students had successfully completed the integration course, and, in some cases, a parallel language course as well. Both attestations are required to complete the application for a residency permit.

This particular course has been offered twice a year – in March and November – since 2013. This year's group comprised a broad range of nationalities: Argentinians, Colombians, Pakistanis and Moroccans. In class, the students learned overviews of the values embodied in the Spanish constitution, human rights and civil liberties, the Balearic statute of autonomy, the European Union and gender equality.

In November, the group met over 20 hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The classes, explained Councillor Parellada, are conceived for recent arrivals to Formentera who are interested in fully integrating into civil society here.

Youth council holds plenary meeting

Ple infancia i joventut premsaEarlier today in the administration’s plenary hall, members of the participatory youth council (Consell de Participació de la Infància I la Joventut) came together to celebrate the group’s plenary session. CiF president Jaume Ferrer was on hand to introduce the participants: 24 pupils from the island’s three primary schools and IES Marc Ferrer secondary school. Vanessa Parellada, councillor of social welfare, started off the meeting by enumerating the activities the Council has coordinated this month in celebration of the International Day of the Child.

Parellada went on to speak about the different Council-backed improvement projects that took place this summer at Formentera schools. She also alluded to the possibility of creating a youth volunteer corps and talked about a new project in la Mola aimed at creating a safe trail for the children who walk to and from school there. Likewise, she proposed opening discussion on a new location for the island’s skate park.

The children shared stories from last week’s youth plenary at the Balearic parliament in Palma and took the opportunity to urge their CiF representatives to take action on different issues like creating more bike paths and zebra crossings in towns and increasing the number of children’s parks. The pupils put questions to the president and councillors in an attempt to better understand the work of public officials and urge further improvements. President Ferrer promised to follow up on the issues at the group’s next meeting in six months.  

Meeting of local safety forces and emergency services

Reunio Cossos Emergencies premsaCouncillor of the presidential cabinet Bartomeu Escandell met today with Pere Perelló, chief of staff of the regional ministry of the interior and emergency services , as well as other representatives of Formentera’s forces of public order. At the meeting were Chief Joan Mayans of the local police force; Ivan Marí, head of the local fire brigade; and – from Protecció Civil, the local volunteer troupe – chief of staff Pep Marí and staff member Francisco Moya. Also present was Xavier Vila, director of the company contracted to install emergency number plates on homes located in isolated zones of the island.

Councillor Escandell explained that participants sought to «improve coordination between the different forces of order that are under the responsibility of the Formentera Council and interior ministry of the Govern Balear». He also took the opportunity to describe to Mr Perelló the recently-implemented geolocalisation system which permits emergency services to quickly reach homes in secluded areas.

Push for checks at rubbish bins to ensure best use

Contenidors premsaTwo Formentera Council offices – Presidènica, the presidential cabinet, and Medi Ambient, environment – have come together to push for checks at rubbish drop-spots. The move, said Bartomeu Escandell, department head at Presidència, is intended to «ensure proper disposal practices and sanction anti-social behavior».

An environment office watchman and an officer of the local police have begun making rounds at drop-off points, a practice meant to dissuade residents from improper disposal of rubbish. In cases where offences are witnessed, the officials are writing citations, which carry a fine.

Councillor Escandell called on all island residents to do their part to keep Formentera clean and reminded them that a free at-home pick-up service exists to dispose of old and oversized furniture. He also refered to the new rubbish tip, which has been in operation – morning and afternoon – since this May. Fines for improper waste disposal start at 50 euros and can go as high as 3,000.

Formentera takes another step forward on gender-based violence

Presentacio dia contra violencia de genere premsaVanessa Parellada, head of the department of social welfare and Azuzena Carrasco, staff specialist, met with Espai Dones president Vanessa Díaz to unveil the activities programme to back Formentera’s celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, tomorrow, 25 November. Councillor Parellada pointed to funding and logistical help the administration provides Espai Dones «to ensure such events take place». «However», she continued, «we must go even further in the fight against gender-based violence». She indicated the desire of CiF officials to «tackle the issue using education».

The Espai Dones president expressed her thanks for the Formentera Council’s support but bemoaned the fact «gender-based violence remains a pressing issue». Tomorrow at six in the evening an informational stand will be set up at la Constitució square. Then, at 7:30, a text in which Espai Dones speaks out against gender-based violence will be read before crowds on the square. Finally, at eight o’ clock, an exhibit on Simone de Beauvoir (Feminista i escriptora) will open at the municipal gallery. Ms Díaz asked for all to come out in red shoes.

The activities programme continues through 12 December, when organisers plan to bring together women of the island for a supper for sisterhood. A festival of film shorts is scheduled for 27 November and an assertiveness workshop is planned for the first of December. This last year 18 women denounced cases of abuse to the social services office of the Formentera Council.

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