Rachel is a young Nigerian girl aged 25 years. She lost her father at the age of 10 and from that moment she lived alone with her mother, helping her in housework and working the land that his father had left them. The land was also their source of livelihood: the more they produced, the more they could sell the products to the market, the more they had resources to survive. After the death of her mother Rachel remains alone and her father's family combines a marriage with a man much older than her. Rachel decides not to accept and to leave her community and move to a larger city looking for work. The city is not a safe place for a single girl and finding work is very difficult. Rachel finds shelter for a period in an uninhabited house, suffers violence and lives very hard times, alone. After many difficulties, she finds work in a restaurant for 3 and a half years. She manages to keep and save money and she spends all to get a seat on a boat. Now she is safe in Italy, speaks very well Italian and she studies. She is grateful, despite the immense suffering she has experienced, for having had a second chance, to be able to start over and rebuild her life. At the moment, given her propensity for social activities and her knowledge of languages, she is doing an internship as a cultural mediator, trying to help all those who need it.
Simba is 28, comes from Gambia. He always had a passion for music and in Gambia worked in a radio station as a DJ. He felt very lucky to be able to do a job that was also his passion. When his father who has always supported his choices died, he decided to leave Senegal and move to Europe to try to find stability and security. During his stay in Italy he had the opportunity to continue the music lessons and sing his songs in educational activities in the schools of the Province of Grosseto. Young people love his songs. He wants to continue to use music to communicate his history in schools and to build a more inclusive society.
John is 21 and comes from the Guinea Bissau. He studied languages for 10 years in the belief that knowing different languages is like having many tools to live together with other people in different societies. When he was 14 her mother died, supporting him in his studies and career dreams. His father got married again. From that moment the difficulties began with the new wife of the father who did not accept him and who did not support his efforts to study. Very soon they proposed to leave the family home and get married. John refused to marry a woman he didn’t know and left home. He moved to Libya where he lived for six months, hoping to return to his country. When the situation became too dangerous, he tried to escape from Libya and landed in Italy. Now is safe, he attended Italian language courses and started working. He thinks that it would be very useful to attend professional training courses together with Italian courses in order to fit more easily into the local job market. He wants to stay in Italy and hopes to use his language skills in his career path. In life he says it is important to have first of all "Life" that in some countries is not guaranteed, and then be healthy.
As a matter of fact, for all of them youth work has a very important role to play supporting and empowering young people to deal with the challenges they are facing and strengthening their resilience.
These interviews were carried out by Silvia Volpi in the frame of the European project BPE Becoming a part of the European project- How youth work can support young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Thanks are due to the Associazione Partecipazione e Sviluppo of Lucca (ITALY)
The name of the respondents was changed for security and privacy reasons.