How to build welcoming and inclusive communities and foster the inclusion of people in need of international protection?
In October, the piloting phase of the WELCOMM project began – Promoting the integration of third-country nationals through the creation of tools for learning and collaboration to build inclusive and welcoming communities. This phase of the project envisages a socio-cultural training dedicated to asylum seekers residing in reception centers in Palermo and the neighbouring area .
The first cycle of the training course took place in the afternoon, so to give participants attending morning school classes to take part in our course.
The first cycle held from 11 to 26 October was divided into 5 meetings, during which several themes concerning life in Italy were presented, such as:
- Rights and responsibilities,
- Culture and values in Italy,
- Education and leisure time,
- Work and finances.
Six men and women of different ages and countries of the African continent – Gambia, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia – currently seeking asylum in Italy took part in the first cycle of the WELCOMM training. Providing a safe space for them to share among themselves as well as with the trainers, the course was an opportunity for rich and engaging discussions on the countries of origin and Italy. In addition to the training module previously adapted to this particular group, meetings were organized in small groups of two or three people to know the participants better, tailor the content of the course to their specific needs and jointly with them identify a learning plan.
Everyone attended the course until the end, receiving a certificate of participation that constitutes an important step within the integration and inclusion process they are currently going through.
The feedback of participants triggered Interesting discussions and touched upon rights, education and work. This emerged particularly during the session on human rights, as we talked about the rights everyone should enjoy as a human being, regardless of the country of origin and the complex circumstances many find themselves in while seeking protection in another country. In addition, familiarising with topics such as health and work allowed them to become more aware about the various opportunities available in within the new context, which contribute to helping them make informed choices.
During the course, an accompaniment was started for the participants to access the welcomm platform, an instrument developed by the European partnership involved in the project, which contains an infopack and a guide on the topics covered and which allows participants to explore these aspects welcomm-europe.eu.
Addressing these issues allowed young people to become aware of their rights and responsibilities in Italy as asylum seekers, as well as the possibilities of access to the services they can benefit from. Exploring their skills and analysing the competences required for different professions during the individualised learning plan, complemented by simulations of budget management, will be extremely useful once they leave the reception centre, while constituting key tools to enhance their self-reliance and lay the foundations for their future Italy.