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The leadership of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis (CI), is offering help and comfort to migrants leaving Africa for Europe through Mali, housing them and providing them with “support and advice on their journey.”

The support to the migrants is realized at Caritas Migrant House in Mali’s Gao township, CI leadership indicates in a report on the occasion of International Migrants Day marked December 18 annually.

“Caritas migrant house is a sanctuary where migrants can find support and advice on their journey,” CI officials say in the December 18 report.

As migrants passing through the town of Gao in Mali on their way to Europe prepare for “their daunting journey across the Sahara Desert”, Caritas Migrant House “welcomes and offers them help and comfort,” officials of CI say in the report.

During the pandemic, the number of migrants arriving in Gao has increased to an average of 300 per day. Caritas has kept the door open throughout the period, they say.


The shelter, which receives an average of 300 migrants daily offers “practical assistance such as health and hygiene support but also focuses on education to ensure migrants take an informed decision before migrating,” officials of the global entity further say.

“Some of the migrants decide to train in skills such as hairdressing or bricklaying and look for work in Gao rather than continuing on their journey,” officials of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies add.

A study by Pew Research indicates that migration from sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically since 2010.

According to the UNHCR, thousands of refugees and migrants are dying, while many are suffering extreme human rights abuses on irregular journeys between West and East Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean Coast.

In the December 18 report, CI officials say that most migrants housed at Caritas Migrant House come from Niger and other African countries, but there are also people from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other non-African countries. 

More in Africa

“Increased insecurity in the north of Mali is one cause of migration; poverty and the dream of a better life are the others,” they say. 

“Many of the migrants we receive who have been returned from Algeria arrived in a very poor state of health. Some of them have serious illnesses such as tuberculosis and we’re making sure they get hospital treatment,” they further say. 

In the report, the CI officials also say that “migrants are victims of global injustice resulting from political and economic systems.”

“We support them in their quest for a safer haven where they can realize their dream of a better life and live in dignity,” CI officials say, adding that they advocate for “legal and safe pathways and access to services for migrants.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.