Hello Europe España

The arrival of more than 1 million refugees and immigrants in the Mediterranean in 2015 highlighted the need to improve collaboration processes and support initiatives that provide innovative and transversal opportunities for the integration of migrants in Europe.

Hello Europe is an initiative created in 2016 in response to this need, to seek proven solutions, connect them with each other and other key players in the immigration and integration sector, and support new collaborations and organizations to accelerate their impact. This model has already been successfully tested in Germany, Austria, Turkey and Holland.

Following the path marked by these countries, the team of Ashoka Spain along with a large group of other collaborating entities has set the goal of bringing and climbing in Spain social innovation initiatives that respond to the main obstacles that compromise the full integration of newcomers in our country and create spaces for collaboration between entities and people from different sectors.

Different people, organizations and companies have come together under the framework of Hello Spain to share the challenges and opportunities and reinforce those initiatives that work.

Understand, Analyze and Create Networks

Hello Spain brings together the most relevant actors in Spain to identify obstacles, areas of intervention and innovative solutions.

Ashoka Spain launched two workshops in 2018, bringing together the most relevant actors in the field of migration and refugee movements to identify, categorize and better understand the situation in Spain. Among the attendees were professionals from the social, public, private and academic sectors, social entrepreneurs, as well as representatives of migrants and refugees, among others. At the institutional level, there were representatives of the International Organization for Migration in Spain (OIM), the Spanish Commission for Assistance to Refugees (CEAR), the Spanish government, the UNHCR and the Association without Roles of Madrid, and many more. In these work sessions, 6 key intervention points were identified in order to improve integration and coexistence:

1. Formal and informal support networks.

2. Housing.

3. Legal support (identity documentation, employment contracts, etc.)

4. Access to employment.

5. Education and training.

6. Financial and savings capacity.

Connect and Inspire

Through the creation of collaborative environments among agents interested in solving the problem, Hello Spain aims to determine the social innovation solutions that will best contribute to face these challenges. In this phase, initiatives of the international network of Social Entrepreneurs of Ashoka are presented with innovative projects for the integration of migrants and host communities. The aim is to connect them with local partners so that they can undertake and implement them in Spain and establish a permanent collaboration network between the sectors.

Accelerate and Scale

Hello Spain will accompany the growth of projects replicated in Spain with specialized support, focused on the “large” focus towards a systemic change, and an economic fund to support its implementation.

Madrid, 10 April 2019
Before the unprecedented migratory context in Europe, Ashoka Spain marked two years ago the goal of bringing and implementing in Spain several initiatives of social innovation in order to face the multiple challenges that compromise the full integration of migrants in our country . The Hello Spain Festival that took place on April 10, 2019 at the Media Lab in Madrid (space provided by the City of Madrid), with the participation of more than 120 people, has been the culmination of several months of collaboration between actors from different sectors.

The event was a good occasion to present the 8 solutions by its promoters, all Fellows of the Ashoka Network, on the one hand, and create a framework of interaction with local entities in perspective to a phase of scalability under the chairmanship of the Director of Integration and Humanitarian Attention of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of Spain, Ms. Estrella Rodríguez, and the High Commissioner for Migration of Portugal, Mr. Pedro Calado,

Welcoming International 

Welcoming International helps local communities adapt to the arrival of new people. It addresses residents’ fears and anxieties about immigrants to increase empathy among residents in communities experiencing rapid growth in their immigrant and refugee populations. The objective is to create a society in which each community actively embraces immigrants and refugees, and see the new arrivals as active essentials Welcoming International connects non-governmental organizations and entities of local governments and gives them intensive support to as they develop plans, programs and policies to transform their communities into inclusive places.


The Association of Self-financed Communities
(ACAF) encourages the creation of savings groups that provide small loans at low interest. In Europe, networks of social migrants share money and resources based on mutual trust. This model, which has expanded to more than 10 countries, promotes community unity by creating support networks that generate benefits that are shared among the members themselves.

Migration Ventures (Upwardly Global)

In almost all countries with a large community
of immigrants and refugees, those who arrive with university education end up unemployed or significantly underemployed: doctors drive taxis, executive directors work in the kitchens. Skills are wasted, which makes adaptation, comfort and success in a new country difficult. The Upwardly Global organization has broken this mentality by placing more than 5,000 migrants and refugees from 169 countries in highly skilled and well-paid jobs in the United States. They are now spreading their methodologies and frameworks across Europe with Migration Ventures, an initiative focused on the intersection of the future of work, migration and globalization. Migration Ventures launches, advises and invests in companies that provide opportunity, unity and prosperity.


Refugees can positively impact their new environments when given opportunities.
Entrepreneurship and local business development have always been a powerful way for refugees to take control of their own careers and integrate into community life. Singa connects the newcomers with local people who share similar interests and dreams to help to build social capital, strengthen their confidence and transform the perception of society.


SPEAK connects migrants, refugees and local people who live in the same city through an exchange of language and culture with two main activities. The first, groups of languages and cultures and, the second, events organized by the community that are open to all. Participants can sign up to learn a new language and culture or to teach their own and share their own identity. SPEAK allows people to get to know each other, break prejudices, make new friendships and have an informal support network. To date, more than 5,700 people have participated in SPEAK cultural events and more than 6,100 people have participated in language learning groups.

Universidad de La Laguna

The Observatory of Immigration of Tenerife (OBITen), Together In the same direction, ICI Taco (intercultural community intervention) and Neighborhoods for Employment: Stronger Together (employability and socio-labor insertion), all managed through the Fundación Canaria General from the University of La Laguna, where it is also integrated into the Social Innovation Laboratories, created within the framework of the University Innovation Agency and its Social Innovation Unit.



ComParte is an initiative focused on citizen participation. It develops participatory methodologies with citizens and takes them to decision-making entities so that a real and direct influence is generated in the systems that they seek to change.
In the case of integration, ComParte invites immigrants and refugees in Spain to reflect on their reception in the Portuguese community and to contribute proposals and ideas to improve it. In addition, it brings these people together with public and private entities that can make decisions on a larger scale.

Fundación PorCausa 

porCausa combines research, proposes new narratives and has a powerful network of more than 170 journalists in Spain and the world. Its objective: to influence the way in which people are informed about social issues, fight against information and hold the public and private sectors accountable for their decisions. As a way of working, the foundation presents real profiles involved in migrations, new arguments, data and innovative narrative material to influence the different audiences. Make reports, kits for journalists, photographic material, books and creative proposals to generate communities interested in a better world.

Lorena Silvestri 

Lorena Silvestri, is co-founder of Punto JES and co-organizer of TEDxYouth @ Madrid. He studied Social Sciences at Jacobs University Bremen (Germany) and MBA in Businesses and Cultural Institutions from the Complutense University of Madrid. His job is to help young people, and not so young, to turn their ideas of social change into projects, and their projects into reality. Developing the skills and competencies necessary to be agents of positive change in their environment. Punto JES facilitates workshops for adolescents and young people of university age with collaborative methodologies of entrepreneurship and social innovation. It also trains other educators and youth workers to lead these processes with young people. And it designs and executes educational programs for entities that want to work with young people

César Astudillo 

Advisor in Strategic Design and Innovation. With an eclectic background that encompasses information technologies, creative industries, and strategic thinking, César is dedicated to putting the tools and thinking of design to serve the strategic challenges of organizations. He is currently involved with Fundación porCausa in the challenge of building new narratives to protect the right to human mobility. He also teaches Strategic Design classes in several organizations.

Pedro Calado 

High Commissioner for Migration (Portugal)

He is currently the High Commissioner for Migration of Portugal and Executive Director of the Escolhas Program, a government initiative created in 2001 to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities for children and young people in vulnerable contexts. He holds a Master’s Degree in Geography from the Universities of Lisbon and Sheffield, specializing in Exclusion, Society and Territory. Consultant and external evaluator in several organizations, such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He has been delegate of the Escolhas Program in the European Crime Prevention Network (REPC), and awarded, in 2003, with the European Heinz Roethof Prize, awarded by the European Union. In December 2014, he received the International Juvenile Justice without Borders Award, granted by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory.

Estrella Rodríguez Pardo 

Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security

Director of Integration and Humanitarian Attention of the Ministry of Labor, Migrations and Social Security from Spain. She has developed her professional career mainly in the Red Cross, of which she was national director of Activities and Services, Social Intervention and Studies and also Social Innovation of the Spanish Red Cross. She has been president of the Social Action NGO Platform. Is in charge of immigration, competencies in international protection, integration of immigrants and unaccompanied minors, humanitarian aid, migration centers and European funds.

Georges Belinga

CEO Koop SF 34

Founder of Koop SF 34, the nursery of social micro-enterprises of Sub-Saharan origin in the San Francisco neighborhood of Bilbao. Georges, second-generation immigrant, Master of new information technologies from the University of Lübeck in Germany and Bachelor of business from the University of Northumbria in England, bets on the potential of migration from the momentum of their own capabilities within the Koop SF 34 nursery. Understands social entrepreneurship as the only formula to make a more diverse and inclusive society emerge. In 2018, Georges received the Novia Salcedo Foundation’s international prize from His Majesty the King, for his professional career, his commitment and his ethical leadership, as well as his entrepreneurial attitude and his approach to immigration in a positive way.

Yuly Jara

Data journalist and coordinator of Maldita Migración. Its focuses are focused on social issues, human rights and migration. He has written about the cases of harassment in Spanish public universities, the challenges of the generation of more diverse Spaniards (Verne), how the governments of Spain inflated figures on migrants and the permanent state of emergency with the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Write for El País, the newspaper. is, The Confidential, The World, Pikara Magazine and Univision Inequality, among others.

More than half of the participants state the need to bet more on social innovation in the management of immigration in Spain

71% of the participants believe that Ashoka is helping to improve the reception and coexistence in Spain

75% of the participating organizations in Hello Spain are likely to replicate any of the presented solutions

83% of the participants are more hopeful about the migratory situation after participating in the event and hope to take advantage of opportunities for collaboration between entities and sectors

Both local entities and social entrepreneurs carrying the 8 solutions presented believe that financial support is necessary to scale the solutions