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Taking stock of local fund's efforts to boost cooperation

Presentacio fons pitiusFormentera Council social welfare officer Vanessa Parellada, who is also the vice chair of a group named the Pityusic Cooperation Fund (Fons Pitiús de Cooperació in Catalan), was joined by fund manager Fina Darder in hosting a press conference to review the decisions made at the fund's March 27 assembly. Among the news items were a new member's adhesion to the fund as well as the fund's budget and areas of action.

In 2017 the Formentera Council has earmarked €20,000 for the non-profit fund, whose work varies from cooperation and emergency humanitarian relief to educational outreach and training on Formentera and Eivissa.

Open day at low-cost flats in Sant Ferran

Presentacio ibavi 1This morning, 14 freshly-finished units of low-cost public housing were unveiled in Sant Ferran. The flats were commissioned by the Balearic housing authority (IBAVI) and built on a plot of land ceded by the Formentera Council.

Alongside CiF president Jaume Ferrer at the morning gathering were Marc Pons, the Govern's minister of land, energy and mobility, CiF councillors and vice-presidents Bartomeu Escandell, Alejandra Ferrer, Daisee Aguilera and Rafael González, as well as IBAVI chief Maria Antònia Garcias and project architect Carles Gabriel Oliver.

Open day
From 12.30 to 2.30pm and 4.30 to 5.30pm this Wednesday, March 29, and Monday, April 3, visitors will be free to tour the flats, all of which come with two bedrooms.

Last chance to register
According to IBAVI officials, 214 applications from would-be renters have been received so far. Tuesday, April 4 is the final deadline for applications, which can be completed at IBAVI's Sant Francesc office on carrer Pla del Rei. IBAVI will remain open from 11.30am to 5.00pm March 29 and 30 and April 3 and 4.

On April 2, Festa Intercultural turns 15

rsz foto presentacio festa interculturalThe Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare unveiled plans for the 15th Festa Intercultural. At the presentation were social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, festival organiser Maribel Jiménez and, chair of the island's Associació Intercultural, Serena Amaduzzi.

Sunday, April 2, Sant Francesc's Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school will play host to a gala showcasing the diverse countries and Spanish regions represented on Formentera. “The event,” said Councillor Parellada, “is about experiencing—living and loving—the other cultures that enrich our island.”

Children's games
The cost of admission, four euros, is waived for children under 12. Doors open at 12.30pm and from 1.00pm kids activities include a mask-making workshop, Twister, can toss, a recycling workshop, a lesson writing their name in Arabic or the chance to decorate a bookmark. The children's corner of the festival will also feature bouncy castles and other activities until 5.30pm.

Musical theatre
New this year is the festival's musical theatre segment at 1.00pm. The Formentera band, with students from the school of music, and s'Esglai theatre troupe, have partnered to present “el Viatge Músic,” a production Jiménez called “a very special combination of music, theatre and dance”.

Fine dining
From 2.00 to 3.30pm, locals will have their chance to taste all the fine-dining flavour of Formentera's immigrant communities. Moroccan couscous, Ecuadorian meat sauté, Indonesian nasi goreng are just some of the dishes food fest attendees will be able to sample. “A show for the senses,” promised Jiménez.

In the words of Festa Intercultural's organiser, the day's roster of culinary ombudsmen—Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia, Brazil, Italy, Equator, Morocco, Germany, Paraguay, Andalucía, Galicia, València, Catalunya and Formentera—“will give us a backdoor into the kitchens of a good part of the world”.

Performances
The day's entertainment will entail music and other performances from communities there taking part. Festivalgoers will hear the sounds of the traditional Galician gaita, see dancers do hometown dance steps (ball pagès) and bump to the beat of everything from Cuban salsa to Brazilian music and Dominican bachata. Supercumbia y la Liga de la Alegría headline the day's musical programme. Communiqués were issued to all the day's participating associations and who pledged to shun songs with lyrics disparaging to women and other disadvantaged groups.

Commitment to the environment
Organisers of this year's culture fest wanted to spotlight environmental awareness. Amaduzzi reminded everyone to bring reusable plates and glasses from home and announced that recycling bins, as well as ashtrays, would be set up around the event to keep litter and cigarette butts from turning up on the school's playground.

Councillor Parellada gave special thanks to the one hundred volunteers making this year's Festa Intercultural possible.

Formentera makes case for equality

Foto taula informativaThe Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare has reported on plans to issue an official statement at the administration's plenary session defending the rights and freedoms of women in the 21st century. Councillor and department head Vanessa Parellada took the opportunity of International Women's Day celebrations today to urge continued work “to move equality forward”.

In so doing, the Formentera Council will lend support to a manifesto drafted by IB Dona. The text reaffirms March 8 as a “day of historic importance in the struggle for real equality between women and men”. While the text casts women's rights and liberties as fruit of the toil of previous generations, it also calls for sustained action to ensure the collective patrimony is maintained.

Activities on March 8
The Formentera chapter of Espai Dones has organised a series of activities to herald International Women's Day. At 12 noon an information stand will be mounted and staffed at plaça de la Constitució. Another activity will take place at 5.30pm, when students of Formentera's school of music and dance join teacher Julia Delgado in staging a flash mob. Immediately after, members of the Eivissa-Formentera musical conservatory will perform for the public with the help of centre coordinator Margalida Villalonga. At roughly 6.00pm in the square, surrogates of Espai Dones will read the group's International Women's Day manifesto.

Through plenary, Council will ask Madrid to remove barriers to refugee reception

Foto patxi galanAccording to the Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare, a plenary meeting this Friday February 24 will involve an official statement from the administration urging fewer obstacles to incoming refugees. Drafted by political groups Gent per Formentera and PSOE, the document airs concerns over the desperate situation of Syrians displaced by war in their country, a conflict now in its fifth year. The text also highlights, explained social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, Spain's refusal to meet intake quotas for asylum seekers set by the European Union in 2016.

The manifesto decries “Europe's failure to provide an adequate response to refugees. Efforts till now have centred on policing our own borders and turning Europe into a fortress. The result is that hundreds of thousands of people are forced to risk their lives on perilous land or sea crossings”. The document also underscores the “particularly tragic situation of women and children, who face exploitation and sexual violence” and “other vulnerable individuals, such as those with disabilities”.

Hence the Formentera Council's decision, first, to point out the universally recognised right to asylum and, second, to call on the Spanish government to disentangle the application process for asylum seekers and cut down the administration's response time. Those are just some of the measures laid out in the manifesto, which urges an array of improvements to refugee reception measures and guarantees to the right to asylum.

Second manifesto
Parellada also held up another official declaration, unanimously adopted by the Formentera Council in April 2016, which rejected the EU-Turkey refugee resettlement deal on the grounds that it was an egregious breach of legislation protecting refugees and would only worsen the humanitarian crisis under way.

Formentera with Syria
According to the councillor, the situation of people in refugee camps has been brought into sharp focus in recent weeks thanks to «Formentera amb Síria» (Formentera with Syria), a campaign organised by the Council and the non-profit group «Progreso y Desarrollo Humano». She also thanked the efforts and involvement of the entire population of Formentera.

Parellada called Formentera “an island full of welcoming people,” a fact she said was evident in “our 2015 pledge to put up refugees, which led Spain's department of immigration to create a roster of individuals willing to host refugees or able to offer other resources like clothes, money, childcare, language instruction, etc”.

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