Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Cooperative entrepreneurship for migrants, a tool to improve life projects

  • The Hegoalde initiative was born in June 2023 to bring the transformative social economy closer to people migrated by the cooperative Enara, OlatuKoop and Lanki. Since then, he is taking steps, wants to offer training sessions and has shared experiences in Catalonia, among other things: “We want to create awareness first and then experiencing theory into practice,” explains Arianne Kareaga Lanki in TuLankide magazine.

11 April 2024 - 12:22
Helena Ramirez Migresseko kidea Hernaniko jardunaldian. Argazkia: KoopFabrika

It is an initiative that emerged from the KoopFabrika programme from the South to promote cooperative entrepreneurship among migrants. Its initiator is the Enara cooperative, which offers training and advice for the empowerment of migrant women, and features the OlatuKoop network and the Lanki research center of the Huhezi faculty of Mondragon Unibertsitatea.

In June 2023, the initiative was presented in Iturola Sorgunea de Hernani, where some brushes were given about it. The main objective is to bring the transformative social economy closer to the migrated people: “We want to create a network to address the needs and difficulties of the migrated people and to seek alternatives that will dignify our lives through the transformative economy,” explained the Hernani Chronicle.

In short, it is a cooperative tool for improving the life projects of migrants from the South, and for this it is based on “long breathing cooperation”. In addition to the aforementioned agents, the City Hall of Hernani, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the labor and services cooperative La Comala and the cooperative Migress of Barcelona work hand in hand to reinforce “transformative, feminist and anti-racist cooperativism”.

“We want to create a network to address the needs and difficulties faced by migrants and to seek alternatives that dignify our lives through a transformative economy”

"We are here too, doing people's economy."

In Hernani, in October, the Hegoalde initiative, called Cooperative Action to Transform the Lives of the Margin, organized a conference in which Luz Helena Ramírez, member of Migress, a Venezuelan migrant living in Barcelona participated: “We have come migrants with the experience of our realities, with our cultural context, and we are also here, making popular economy. This should enrich the transformative economy, but at the same time the transformative economy should be an instrument to regularize the situation of people in irregular administrative situations,” he explained.

The lecture cycle was attended by Ramirez and by people such as the professor and researcher at the Lanki Institute of the faculty Arianne Kareaga Huhezi. In fact, TuLankide recently interviewed the Hegoalde initiative in TuLankide: “The general objective is to promote collective projects, to offer road assistance and training to these groups, to the migrated people, to start their cooperative projects”.

On the agenda of cooperativism

This year, the “general framework” is being promoted and, for the future, training sessions are planned in Beterri-Buruntza, Goierri and Alto Deba, in collaboration with the institutions of these counties: “It is very difficult to reach migrants from our privileged positions and that is why it is important to work with agents or influence the networking sites,” explains Kareaga.

From the South there are many beneficiaries of the initiative and the creation of “awareness and context” is the responsibility of all, in this sense, the member of Lanki explained that in Mondragon they also have the theme “on the agenda”

In any event, he has also highlighted the steps already being taken. Not only in Catalonia, but also in the Basque Country. For example, the Enara cooperative is bringing together a large number of people in the field of care and does not see as “utopia” the creation of a cooperative that offers services in this area, even if it is a long process.

From the South there are many beneficiaries of the initiative and the creation of “awareness and context” is the responsibility of all, and in this sense he explained that in the Mondragon Group itself it is also a topic of “agenda”. He considers that migrants are highly qualified people in self-organization by necessity and acquire the values of cooperativism: “Anyone who wants to organize from the popular economy, from the economy of survival, should have at hand our program, whoever wants to stay here and whoever wants to return to their country.”

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