Trieste, Italy – stories related by those who actually live them
“Together with members of Caritas and the Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS), we support mainly migrant and refugee families and their children, hosted at a reception facility in our city, Trieste, and in the province. For the last three years, we have been organizing regular activities; some of us help mothers with their study of the Italian language to facilitate their everyday life; others play with children and follow them in their homework. Many families have been hosted in our centre, and with almost all them we have managed to build a relationship that lasts even after they leave the centre.
Through collaboration with Azione per Famiglie Nuove Onlus (New Families), we set up a project to support a Kurdish family who was in difficulty. This project was financed by some members of the community. After having been supported for two years, the father has now managed to find a job, so the family is self-supporting and lives in a hired apartment. Through other small projects we help other families in their various needs; mothers are assisted to follow specialization courses and thus be prepared for a job, and children are helped to integrate and participate in various activities, as for example sport. We see that these families get the medical care necessary and we also accompany them in their search for a home. We have found small jobs for mothers; and a father, whom we helped with driving lessons, is now employed with a company as a truck driver. With the help of some families, we have managed to offer a “family holiday” to an African widow and her two children, who really needed it. We also try to share with them particular moments in everyday life such as birthdays, Sunday outings to the park, boat-trips, New Year’s Eve festivities, Carnival celebrations and also moments of prayer, as for example during the Ramadam for our Muslim friends.
After the appeal by Pope Francis on the World Day of the Poor: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him”, we wanted to answer his invitation to all Christians to hear this cry and not let it be in vain. So we thought of organizing a “Friendship Festival”, a lunch for those in need: refugees, migrants, unemployed and poor people of our city. We also managed to involve our Focolare community, and asked members to help with food and with other things needed for preparing the hall. We involved even the friends we invited, asking them to contribute towards our feast – if it were possible – with some typical food of their country of origin. About eighty people participated; they came from Cameroon, Nigeria, Eygpt, Tunisia, Russia, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Kosovo. To our great surprise, we are realizing that Caritas is starting to consider us as a point of reference, a “project” that goes well beyond welfare work. We are being called to share in their programmes and projects and sometimes even to seek solutions. It seems that they are pleased with the way we welcome and support those in need, while we aim at building relationships of reciprocity.
In the midst of this chaos, where, maybe, not everyone looks at the welcome given to the least from the same valuable point of view, we feel that we cannot stop, but we must continue to give hope.
Paola Torelli Mosca
On behalf of the Trieste welcome and support group to migrants