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The 16-year-old Bangladeshi boy and the retired Italian social worker made an unlikely pair as they strolled though a Palermo park.The oldest of five children, Sobuj, identified only by his first name, was dispatched to Europe earlier this year by his family – first on a flight to Libya and then smuggled by boat across the Mediterranean by traffickers – after his ailing father could no longer work, Frost said.It is an ambitious goal in a country that has received more than 600,000 migrants and refugees in the past four years and where growing anti-immigrant sentiment is expected to feature strongly in next year's election.The government is forging ahead with the guardianship program, which envisions a corps of regular Italians guiding vulnerable youngsters who arrive on Italy's shores after a dangerous Mediterranean sea crossing.Under the scheme, the children remain housed in government-supported centers while the guardians help enroll them in schools, obtain health care and help them with legal applications to stay in Italy.Filomena Albano, who heads the national Authority for Children and Adolescents in Rome, said Italy was the first European country to formalize such a comprehensive guardianship project in law, passed in March, which includes additional protections for young unaccompanied migrants and refugees.
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