Emmaus Europe

Three European projects supported by the Abbé Pierre Foundation!

Every year Emmaus Europe works with Emmaus International to present projects put forward by the groups in Europe (excluding France) to the Abbé Pierre Foundation. The projects must be focused on the topic of improving housing conditions. 

This year 3 of the 8 international projects that were chosen to be given support by the Foundation are European projects!

IFS-Emmaus – Bosnia-Herzegovina

The group will receive support in order to build housing for two single-parent families that have suffered from domestic violence. Social services put the group in touch with these families.

Emmaus Oxford – UK

The group will receive support in order to build 10 bathrooms. This amount will be part of a renovation project for two adjoined houses with the goal of providing dignified housing for 10 companions in an autonomous setting – a final step of sorts in their transition towards leaving the community.

Emmaus Oselya – Ukraine

The last project selected for support will benefit from funding by both the Abbé Pierre Foundation and Emmaus Europe: due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then the war led by Russia, this Ukrainian group has doubled the number of people it hosts over the last 3 years. And it has done so in an emergency context. This welcome has been provided thanks to the selfless commitment of all of the members of the community and by transforming certain shared spaces into new bedrooms.

Thanks to joint funding from Emmaus Europe and from the Abbé Pierre Foundation and by using some of its own funds, the group has now been able to start the building works: renovating an old workshop and transforming rooms into bedrooms. This project will provide a more dignified welcome to the companions and will help replace the shared spaces that have been transformed into bedrooms over the last few years. The building work should be finished before winter hits!

News Tackling Poverty / Solidarity

Emmaus Oselya’s old workshop is going to be transformed into a community house. © Emmaus Oselya

Despite the war the Oselya group is continuing its fight against poverty

Emmaus Oselya is continuing with its work to support vulnerable people whilst also continuing to lead its income-generating activities. This group fights to offer dignified living conditions to the thousands of vulnerable people who are living in the Lviv region as well as to the victims of the ongoing conflict.

For several years Emmaus Oselya has distributed 150 hot meals to vulnerable people on Thursdays. In 2023 the group has distributed over 5,700 meals thanks to the funding provided by the Ukraine Fund.

In addition to all of this Emmaus Oselya also offers various services at its new day centre that was opened in January 2023 and that was largely funded by the Ukraine Fund (a fund that has been built thanks to the contributions of many Emmaus groups from all across the globe). In the 9 months that the centre has been open it has done a great job: the centre has welcomed over 1,346 people, including 492 internally-displaced persons.

Welcoming more people within the community

Since the start of the conflict Emmaus Oselya has been hosting 10 internally-displaced persons as companions. Since 2021, due to the pandemic and then the outbreak of the war, the group has doubled the number of people it welcomes, up to 30 companions from 15.

In September 2023 the group learned of the death of Nazar, a former companion of the community. He died in the fighting at the age of 29. A portrait of Nazar can be found on Facebook. Just to remind you that 15 companions have left for the front since the conflict broke out in February 2022.

Defending human rights / Migration  News Ukraine

© Emmaus Oselya

The birth of the new Emmaus Romania Federation!

On 1 June the three Emmaus groups in Romania met in Iaşi to finalise the creation of the Emmaus Romania Federation, the new national organisation for the country. Thanks to this shared body the three groups will be able to overcome the geographical distance that separates them in order to better promote Emmaus’ values and to work together to ensure that their voice is heard on the national level.

Gelu Nichitel, the leader and founder of Emmaus Iaşi, will be serving as the first Chair of the federation whilst Jean-Philippe Légaut and Rodica Bizu, the Chairs of Emmaus Satu Mare and Emmaus Targu Jiu, have been named as Vice-Chairs.

The first Emmaus group was created in Romania in 2001 when Emmaus Iaşi joined our movement. Emmaus Satu Mare joined in 2015 before Emmaus Targu Jiu joined in 2017.


The initiatives led by the 3 Emmaus groups in Romania

Emmaus Iasi

Officially opened in 2001 by Abbé Pierre, the Emmaus Iaşi foundation has been working to support the homeless and vulnerable in Iaşi, which is in the north-east of Romania, for over 20 years. Outreach work and “doing the rounds” is at the heart of what this group does. The companions are housed in various community houses. In Iasi the companions work in the second-hand shops and are actively involved in the group’s solidarity programme. Meanwhile at the group’s site in Popesti the companions look after the shop, the animals and the crops as well as leading carpentry and sewing activities. Lastly, at the Belvedere site the group owns 20 hectares of land used for cereal farming, orchards, market gardening and small-scale livestock rearing and Emmaus Iaşi also runs construction, carpentry and sales workshops at this site.

Emmaus Satu Mare

Emmaus Satu Mare hosts around 20 young people aged 18-25 years old, most of whom came to the group from the country’s child protection system. The group supports these young people in their personal and professional development, it provides them with a safe and secure environment where they can start to plan for their futures thanks to personalised career plans that they develop with the team at Emmaus Satu Mare. This group is based in the north-west of the country.

The ‘friends of Emmaus’ Targu Jiu

The ‘friends of Emmaus’ Targu Jiu association is an association made up of volunteers and staff members that is based in the south-west of the country. The group collects objects and also collects clothing from the 4 containers set up across the town. The association then sells these second-hand goods and uses the proceeds to support the activities of a children’s centre as well as to help vulnerable young people to find work/training.

News Romania Tackling Poverty / Solidarity

The members of the new Romanian national organisation in Iaşi in June 2023. © Emmaus Iaşi

An exchange of best practices on working with wood: feedback on the event

In mid-September several European groups met in Krakow, Poland, to talk about the topic of wood – how to renovate wooden objects, how to re-use them, sanding techniques, etc. The Brat Albert group hosted 15 participants from all across Europe who went away with new ideas and plans to lead group projects in the future! Manon and Iosif from the Satu Mare group in Romania told us a little bit more about this informative 2-day event… 

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourselves and about how Emmaus Satu Mare works?

Our names are Iosif (warehouse manager) and Manon (educator). The objective of our association is the socio-professional integration of young people who are leaving the child protection system. What we offer is an integration programme that is well-rounded and that covers many different aspects. Our goal is to help them move towards independent living, to help them to acquire vocational skills through practice in the workplace and to provide them with safety and stability by offering them housing.

What does your group do in terms of its work with wood?

We often receive pieces of furniture in pieces that we then assemble. If not all of the pieces are present we then try to replace them with other spare pieces that we have in the workshop. If we are unable to replace them and we cannot find any other solutions to fix it then the piece of furniture will be sold to be used as firewood. We don’t do a lot of creating wooden pieces ourselves for the time being. But recently our young people, supervised by Iosif, made a table for 6 people on top of an old sewing machine! At this best practice exchange we learned a lot from the other participants.

What did you take away from this exchange of best practices?

We learned about different techniques for sanding and varnishing that we had never seen before.

But above all this exchange allowed us to meet the representatives of 6 groups from 4 different countries. Given that we were only a small group of around 15 participants the atmosphere was very welcoming and it was easy to chat to people!

Circular economy / The environment  News Poland

Iosif showing off his sanding technique before applying a French polish finish. © Emmaus Europe