Study Visit Day

On Wednesday 20 of November the bus took our 28 adventurous wannabe change makers to Napoli. Some of them delighted themselves gazing at the Vesuvio, while others tasting typical Neapolitan delicatessen such as: Sfogliatella, Baba, Casatiello, Pizza, in the land that gave birth to it, and some of the best coffee of Italy. 
It was a bright sun-shiny day and instead of our usual routine, gathering together in the activities room sharing out experiences and knowledge about human rights, inclusion and integration, we went to meet the people who make of this kind of experience their daily life. We were then ready to go to Casa Cidis, a multifunctional intercultural space managed by Cidis ONLUS, a non-profit organization with a long story of hard work and dedication to help migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

As we entered, we were welcomed with splashes of bright colours: the courtyard had recycled garden furniture made from pallets and seats made from tyres, which created an inviting atmosphere for us all. We later found out that the migrants themselves created all these through workshops developed by the organization.
Elena and Ida greeted us for the presentation, and we started by breaking the ice to get to know the people working at the NGO. We got introduced to their activities, knowing that they work mostly with young people, providing accommodation and assistance through welcome centers, and they train and develop the skills of the migrants to either work within the NGO or support them in seeking further employment opportunities. This new initiative that they’re carrying out in Casa Cidis works as bed&breakfast to support the former unaccompanied minors from their centers and it is the first initiative of its kind in this region and it’s still in an experimental phase. They have 1 office and 6 apartments, renting 3 of them to tourists to finance themselves, while 3 others are used for workshops and laboratories; for now it is mostly rented to people that are already aware of their cause, but they are aiming to raise awareness to wider audience about the social scope of their activities.
We loved the passion that Elena demonstrated towards the migrants and her work in the NGO. It was inspiring and motivating to see her passion, which made us want to volunteer with such causes as well. We are also lucky enough to meet to Ahmed who shared his story of 21 old migrant from Somalia who has been living in Italy and hosted by the NGO since the age of 15, already speaking good Italian and learning through an apprenticeship new professional competences in Casa Cidis. He was really happy to be in Italy but still dreamt of going back to Somalia to improve life conditions there with the knowledge he would gain in Europe and create his own business. 

This was the perfect ground also to introduce to Casa Cidis and all our participants about a long term Erasmus+ project that CET Platform Italy has ongoing, a KA2 – Strategic Partnerships for Youth, which focuses on the social inclusion, integration and empowerment of young refugees and migrants.
The project is coordinated by the International Foundation for Y-PEER Development, Bulgaria, with us as partner organization from Italy, together with other three NGOs from Austria, Greece and Turkey, and it is tackling similar topics as the ones addressed through our project, by using storytelling techniques, online and offline, creating audiovisual materials and organizing local events in forms of Living Libraries, in order to build the capacity of youth workers and organizations in this field and to give visibility and recognition to young migrants and refugees who have positive stories of integration in the local communities.
The meeting was therefore also a great occasion to further network and advocate for the promotion of the culture of community solidarity towards vulnerable groups, and to start cooperating together also in other projects and local initiatives that will follow in the upcoming months, especially for the realization of the Living Libraries.

After that, Elena ended the presentation by showing us different educational tools that Cidis Onlus developed during different projects e.g. italian language book, board games and flash cards. The materials were all developed taking into consideration the needs of the migrants and the topics that would practically benefit the migrants the most. 
She mentioned: “ If there were no borders the world would be a much better place because the people will be able to educate themselves in the best place according to their potential and return to their home countries and share their new knowledge”.
We also had the chance to look around rooms that are rented out to tourist with the guide of Ahmed; also the rooms featured sustainability characteristics, as there were some lamps that were recycled from glass bottles and beautifully decorated.  It was then time to say goddbye and thank Casa Cidis for the hospitality and for the great opportunity to see this amazing reality and get enlightened and inspired by their actions!
Time to go back and start implementing the change! Follow and join us!

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