The migration helpdesk was set up in 2014, thanks to a project funded by the Italian Waldensian Church’s funds. The human rights and nonviolence helpdesk enhances aggregation, dialogue and convergence of cultures, identities, and personal experiences of different communities. These are concrete responses to the dynamics of violence and social exclusion that are spreading at a national, urban and neighborhood level. The helpdesk came up as an aggregation, convivial and recreational space to promote cultural exchange between participants and integration among communities.
In pursuing this goal, the helpdesk organizes and coordinates of several activities, in particular:
- Beginner/Advanced Italian courses for foreigners
- Festivals of the Multi-ethnic Republic (2012-2016-2017-2018)
- Multiethnic dinners
- Presentations of books, pictures and works done by migrants
- Information meetings on Energia’s development cooperation projects
- Dissemination of services for migrants in Rome II Municipality
- Internet points for migrants
A course of Italian for foreigners was held at the Energia per i Diritti Umani headquarters, from March to June 2016, as part of the project Sportello dei diritti e della nonviolenza (Human Rights and Nonviolence Helpdesk). Around 20 immigrants having a basic knowledge of Italian attended the course. They came from Mali, The Gambia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Venezuela, Peru, Philippines, Argentina, etc. The activity aimed at learning how to write a CV and prepare for a job interview.
In 2019, the third edition of the course took place. It also included a photography workshop with a final exhibition of the participants’ works. Other activities such as non-violent experience workshops, relaxation and meditation courses and territorial listening help spreading the culture of nonviolence and the cooperation between peoples.
In 2020 we have established a partnership with “Baobab Experience”, an NGO based in Rome who takes care of migrants and asylum seekers. Together, we have carried out workshops for migrants about non-violent conflict resolution. In Italy, migrants are often victims of discrimination and relegated to a condition of social marginalization. We dealt with the topic of violence in personal relationships, getting familiar with theoretical and practical tools useful to strengthen our ability to give nonviolent answers even in violent contexts. They were very busy days in which we played, reflected, and even shared difficult experiences. It was clear to us that Diversity is a source of human enrichment. We will be able to reach a truly democratic and human society only by welcoming with sincere solidarity people seeking a better future for themselves and their loved ones. These workshops were another small step towards the construction of the Universal Human Nation, the utopia of our organization.
We are preparing a structured program of periodic meetings with migrants, named “Human Corner”. The goal is to create an area of growth and exchange where the migrant is a subject, a human being respected and valued in his gifts and virtues. The activities will include sharing everyone’s history, origins, and culture. Several techniques, including the “theater of the oppressed”, will be applied to prepare to confidently face situations that may create concern, e.g. job interviews. One of the purposes of the meetings is indeed to support migrants building trust in themselves and in their future. Having a projection towards our future helps us face with motivation and commitment the many small steps necessary to achieve our goals.
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