“Perspectives” in short supply

Work with refugees on Sicily

by Martina Zelt, 2014/06/20

In Italy, the situation is becoming more and more difficult. Many thousands of refugees reach the country every month. Italy, and especially Sicily, doesn’t know where to house all these people and the people don’t know where to go with all their worries, in an unknown country. Little catastrophes which often happen without anyone noticing, but for the individuals this means a life in uncertainty, need and strongly limited self-determination.

humedica supports the refugees with the delivery of aid supplies, including blankets, sleeping bags and shoes (thanks to a generous donation by Deichmann), which are being distributed by our partner Enos Nolli, especially in Mineo and Caltanissetta. Enos gives all his energy for needy refugees, he listens, gives advice, translates and helps as well as he can.

Most refugees arrive in boats, they have had a long journey, at the moment most of them come from Libya. These interminable floods of refugees make the rescue and the supply more and more difficult for the local authorities.

Meanwhile, the refugee camps are overcrowded; many new arrivals are not accepted anymore and are left completely on their own. Since the beginning of the year, the team around Enos Nolli has worked with those who do not even receive the scarce support of a refugee camp. They have built their own small camp under a motorway bridge.

A motorway bridge which feels like a dead end. But in order to get into this dead end, they have all taken on enormous stress and strains. Returning back is out of the question, the atrocities to be expected in their home country are too big.

humedica and Enos Nolli distribute tents, sleeping bags, rechargeable torches, blankets and shoes, in order to ease the greatest pain. At home, many of them had been respectable personalities, now they live from other people’s charity at the extreme minimum of any existence.

Those who manage to get into an official camp, receive a daily support of 2,50 €. Perspectives are mostly out of stock. What will happen to the great number of refugees who arrive unceasingly from Africa and Asia to Europe, what will happen to them on the island Sicily?

Even for the few of them who were lucky to get a work permit, the future prospects are difficult. There is little paid work offered and many Italians are unemployed themselves.

In Mineo there is one of the biggest camps in Sicily. The work with the refugees consists, first of all, in registering them, giving them something to eat and drink, listening to them and trying to cheer them up in some way. A task which is getting more and more difficult. However, the encounters and the friendships rising from these encounters are encouraging, the work of the team is much appreciated by the refugees.

In the afternoons, Enos holds counseling interviews; he helps refugees who aim at continuing their lives – in a new country now – mostly without any necessary information or orientation. He wants to bring the inhabitants of the next village to teach the refugees the Italian language. That would at least be a beginning, which can serve as a bridge into a more normal life.

The many different camps are widely scattered. Enos often drives long distances with the van, provided by humedica, in order to visit the different families. In the village Cataldo as well, more than 100 refugees live in a community center. Smaller settlements of 25 to 50 refugees sprout everywhere on Sicily. The tensions between the local population and the refugees are important. What can be done?

And who are they actually, these refugees? All the same? No, they are people from very different home countries, with different backgrounds and stories. Not long ago, Enos met four men from Baluchistan in Pakistan. They told terrible stories of cruelty and persecution. As part of a minority with a different cultural identity, they had been persecuted by the Iranian as well as the Pakistani authorities.

How much courage, joy and the feeling of being understood it gives them, when Enos and his team lend them a film in their mother tongue. These are small things which have a healing effect.

In order to be able to assure the humedica commitment and the delivery of aid supplies, which meet the needs, also in the future, we need your support. Each directed donation for the supply assistance reaches the place where it is urgently needed.

Thank you very much for your sympathy and your contribution!

      humedica e.V.
      keyword supply assistance
      account nb. 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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