Growing up and listening from my first years of my life the stories of my grandparents being refugees from Turkey and living in the country that maybe is the most affected by migration crisis, it was a very easy decision for me to answer positive when Community Papa Giovanni XXIII offered me a volunteer position in San Savino, at the house which host migrants.
Now after two months here I already feel a different person. Living and spending the whole day with migrants makes you to be creative, learn a lot about their culture, the current situation in their countries, but also can be very challenging. These people left their countries with one main goal: ‘’To start a new life, a life with dignity’’. To achieve this, they have to pass illegally the ‘’burning’’ Middle East, the (mostly) inhospitable Balkans and east European countries under difficult and extremely dangerous circumstances. A lot of them do not succeed. These who at the end achieve the first goal (to survive the trip), have to face the bureaucracy and many times the racism from the inhabitants of the countries which hosts them. There is where our job starts.
Our main duty is to make the lives of those people as comfortable as we can until they receive the documents for legal staying and working in Italy. This procedure can last from 3-4 months till 2-3 years and it does not have always happy end for migrants. This period is the most difficult psychologically for them because they do not know if they will receive positive or negative answer from the Commission. We also have to think that most of them left their families in order to try to build a better future for them. This makes them anxious and impatient and here is the most difficult part of our job : To focus their interest in other things (learning languages, searching for a job, playing different kind of games, organizing trips etc.) in order to surpass their depression about leaving their country, their families and other problems they may have.
What a volunteer takes as a reward for his/her contribution? Their smiley faces, their happiness and their emotive ‘’goodbye’’ when they keep the document in their hands and they are ready to start a new life. The feeling when you realize that you are part of their step into a new, better life, a life with dignity and respect is something not exchangeable with any materialistic thing.
Community Papa Giovanni XXIII gave me the opportunity to live and to feel all these described above. Are You ready to do the same?