15 April 2016

AN interview with the General Secretary of The Salvation Army’s Italy and Greece Command is featured in a new video produced by the International Headquarters (IHQ) communications team. The command’s ministry among refugees is also highlighted in an episode of The Sally Army and Me, a BBC television series being aired on Sunday night.

Speaking about the situation affecting Italy and Greece, Major David Cavanagh explains in the IHQ Communications video: ‘The big challenge at the moment is very much immigration. Last year, nearly a million people came into Europe via the Mediterranean and 97 per cent of those were in Italy and Greece.’

Give to The Salvation Army's Europe Refugee AppealMany of the people landing in Europe after arduous and dangerous sea crossings have no possessions other than the clothes they are wearing. The Salvation Army has been providing food, water, milk, winter clothing, hygiene supplies and nappies (diapers), along with simple children’s toys.

Noting the difficulties facing refugees entering the two countries from war-torn regions such as Syria and Afghanistan, Major Cavanagh says: ‘Language and culture are enormously different, so there’s a huge gap between their expectations – and the expectations of families who they left behind.’ 

The Salvation Army’s response in hotspots such as the Greek capital, Athens, and in Rome and Atena Lucana in Italy is necessarily diverse. ‘We’re working extremely hard on cultural integration,’ continues Major Cavanagh. ‘The programmes that we run include language classes, cultural mediation, a series of workshops such as sewing, information technology, teaching basic work skills in cooking and waitering, for instance.’

  • Find out more about The Salvation Army’s refugee response across Europe – including details of how to support the work – at http://sar.my/europerefugees

IHQ Communications

Tags: Europe, Emergencies, Refugees in Europe