Scalabrini Centre Releases 2022 Annual Report

annual report 2022

The year 2022 saw our actions informed and guided by four verbs; to welcome, to promote, to protect, and to integrate. These four verbs make up our recently defined mission statement. Entering the year, the Scalabrini team had no doubts about the what, but we needed to define the how. This was our focus for 2022.

The question we needed to ask ourselves was how we ensure that the Scalabrini Centre evolves as a resilient organisation amidst the ever-growing challenges and resistance towards the sector in which we work – the migration sector.

We have seen – across the world, and on our doorstep – inflammatory negative discourse around migration and growing support for anti-migration movements. This has been flamed by politicians and political decisions that will have a huge negative impact on people’s lives; for example, the cancellation of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs). People struggle to document themselves due to the malfunction of the Refugee Reception system – people who are asylum seekers and refugees experience the frustration of this system daily while striving to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.

Living in an environment where you are faced with such uncertainty and resistance deeply impacts the well-being of both our clients and our Scalabrini team. This, on top of what the pandemic years left behind; weakened social relationships which give way to and strengthened latent xenophobic attitudes.

This leads us back to the first verb in our mission statement – ‘to welcome’. How can we be truly welcoming to all – our clients, colleagues, partner organisations, and stakeholders – in this hostile environment?

As per our Welcoming manifesto, we define the act of welcoming as ‘an ongoing act of intentional consideration and co-creation that transcends acceptance and fosters belonging through practicing care, respect, empathy, and acknowledgment while valuing and empowering all voices in the space.’

We needed to ground this thinking in a methodology aimed at developing and broadening an organisational approach that could lead to the resilience and innovation the current social context requires. As a result, the Scalabrini team embarked on a reflective training journey focused on a trauma-informed approach.

These participatory sessions challenged us as a team to acknowledge not only the trauma that sits within us but also within our families and our cultures. How do we disrupt the cycles of intergenerational trauma and emerge as adaptable and empathetic agents of change? Some key moments that we identified were; becoming aware of our assumptions and blind spots and learning the difference between acceptance and agreement.

Our organisational developmental process is ongoing, but the first phase of the journey has allowed us to understand trauma, its effect on human functioning, and how to approach situations with an understanding of human behaviour; a trauma-informed approach.

I believe we have created a culture of care – a critical characteristic of the work of the Scalabrini Centre and its team. We also remain strongly anchored to our commitment to advocating for the rights of people on the move and to actions needed to contribute to an emotionally just society.

Change is only achieved collectively and collaboratively. Therefore, I extend my gratitude to all our partners, funders, the Scalabrini Centre Board of Trustees, all Scalabrini employees, and most importantly to all people on the move, who share part of their journey with us, as we welcome each other at the Scalabrini Centre.

Giulia Treves, Director 


Read the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town’s 2022 Annual Report outlining our programmes, finances and reflections for the year.