Happy to finally sleep in a real bed – Pope’s refugees settling into Rome

Pope welcomes refugees on board planeOn a Saturday morning three weeks’ ago, Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos. Anne Le Nir explains in a Global Pulse article that the Pope welcomed twelve refugees on board his flight back to Italy and they now in the ‘Haven House’ in the Community of Sant’Egidio in the Palazzo Leopardi.

“To help the adults and children integrate more easily, we wanted them to be immersed in the urban fabric of Rome and be in an extremely lively district rich in history,” explains Daniela Pompei, member of Sant’Egidio, who participated in the selection of these vulnerable families in Lesbos.

Refugees thank the PopeSome of the twelve refugees have been speaking about their move to Italy. Nour is a 30 year old microbiologist, one of Hasan’s three wives.

“We were told at 11 pm the day before the pope arrived that he would take us to Rome. We felt a shock as we took our seats in the plane, just behind him and his assistants. He came over to meet us and shake our hand. I told him that I would pray for him. He smiled at me and stroked my child’s head.”

She adds: “I still cannot believe the dream we are living. The pope is an extraordinary messenger of peace. He makes no distinction between people who need protection, I hope that the global reach of these humanitarian gestures will raise awareness”.

Another refugee explained how happy she is to “finally sleep in a real bed” after a three month journey through Syria, Turkey and Greece.

The adults will attend an Italian language and culture school while the children are at school in Rome. The three families of Syrian Muslim refugees have requested political asylum in Italy.

Photos via Sant’Egidio