Benefits of volunteering – Gruntdtvig Workshop in Messina, Sicily

Benefits of volunteering – Gruntdtvig Workshop in Messina, Sicily

The whole team

Finding an workshop and application procedures

And so here I am. Trying my chances on a Grundtvig workshop in Messina, Sicily (Italy), running from October 10 to 16, 2011. I applied sending to the organizers, CESV Messina (Centro Servizi per il Volontariato – Volunteering Services Center), my message of interest in the workshop I chose from the Grundtvig Workshop Catalogue 2011 – Lifelong Learning Programme, published on our National Agency website: I was interested in the topic they proposed for the workshop, “Experiences of Social Commitment: Volunteering and Active Citizenship”, because I myself have a current running program on volunteering and the topic suited my needs perfectly.

I told I represented two institutions that work with and promote volunteers and volunteering:

1. the Potpourri Association, Vrancea County, Romania,which president I am – Potpourri Association is a non-profit organization established in 2009 as an avangarde and non-conformist association. It was founded by young people from all fields of activity wishing to involve actively in the community and to change mentalities. It aims to support all age categories (young people are preffered a little more) and to improve the understanding and practice of concepts as volunteering, European values, social commitment, active citizenship, community involvement, life long learning.

2. the Foreign Language Center I coordinate at “Duiliu Zamfirescu” Vrancea County Public Library, Romania –,

The Foreign Language Center was set up in May 2008, after the completion of a one-year and a half international book donation project of sixteen book tones, shared among three county public libraries from Romania. It is the only center of the kind in Vrancea and its activity covers cultural, social, and educational fields and community involvement. The center benefits from the support of generous volunteers, sponsors and donors which sustain the role of the library in the community.)
They sent me applications for both me and Sorin, my husband, who is an active volunteer supporting me in my activities. After a long process of selection, we were both accepted. And then started the work. We had to participate with some presentation materials of our volunteering activity and some descriptions of ourselves. Plus, of course, administrative details for our trip. These presentation materials were posted on a web page of CESV Messina, created especially for the workshop, and the forum where all the participants had to join and meet beforehand and chat: – CESV organization web site – the workshop page
Here you can also find the presentations of our speakers in the workshop, the materials they presented, photos, videos with the participants, daily reports we had to do, newspaper articles with the workshop, the program of our activities, the participant organizations, etc.

Meeting the participants and the organizers
Now that we’ve come to that, I should introduce to you the team from CESV Messina:

Maria Angela Filocamo – workshop coordinator, and Giuseppe, her right hand in everything (smile!)

Rosario Ceraolo – director of CESV

Antonio Mantineo – president of CESV, and other good fellows that helped us all the time and made our stay perfect.

As for our team of participants, we were 27 from 10 countries. We represented different volunteering associations or teachers that had volunteering projects

FinlandSalokannel Hanna, Valtanen Marjut

Italy – volunteers from other associations in Messina – Ruggiano Salvatore (also our translator, actor, guide, companion, father, best friend!), De Pascalis Valeria, Geresia Maria, Staiti Annamaria, D’Andrea Simona, Finocchiaro Enrico

Latvia Gorbacova Olga, Grutkovskis Dins

LithuaniaLukoseveviciute Egle, Murinaite Vytaute

PolandNogiéc Anna, Plachecka Marta, Sadownik Danuta

PortugalTeixeira Filipa

Romania – Cătănoiu Anamaria, Cătănoiu Sorin, Păduraru Fănica Lenuța

Slovenia – Komadina Nina

Sweden – Frösén Katja

Turkey – Celebi Sadik, Dilbaz Muhsin, Dogan Bircan, Eksi Dilek, Karayel Gamze, Takmak Ufuk
We were warmly welcomed in the Royal Palace Hotel, right near the CESV headquarters, that became our Sicilian home for one week, with good food and living conditions.The program was fullllll! of activities. We didn’t even have the time to visit Messina to much!

Sightseeing around Messina

The glimpse we did caught of the town left a good impression: a wonderful urban architecture, even if Messina was wiped out of the face of the earth by two earthquakes, the Dome with its moving statues every sharp hour, and the roaring lion and singing cock from 12 o’clock, the harbor that was magnificent, important churches and sanctuaries –  Sanctuario Montalto, Cristo Re -, the panoramas of the city from Messina’s highest points. But that was ok and enough, because the places we visited, the people we met and the things we did and learnt compensated with a lot more than needed! Let alone that I had the chance to see the volcanoes! Even if it was from the distance. Etna and others I forgot the names. They were to many. And their touristic town from the foot of the Etna volcano, Taormina. And many others… At the end of this presentation I will post the program of the workshop just to make an idea…

The first day we spent it at the CESV, introducing ourselves, our activity, meeting the Italian team of CESV, the opening speech of Antonio, the president, other guests from other Sicilian associations (like Dorina Coman, a Romanian established in Sicily, running Totius Mundi Una Domus volunteering association, who also helped with the translations), the press conference and the 30 seconds interviews we all had to film for the website, describing the expectations on the workshop.
All the other days were study visits in the entire Messina region to meet with different associations and foundation that described their activity in volunteering. Good practice examples and very useful for all of us. All the meetings had their share of interactivity, debates, discussions and the presentations of the participants, daily report, activity evaluation for their National Agency, we all had to do. So, we had to work there, not have fun!

Sicilian Traditions

What you don’t see also in this program is the Sicilian traditions we were introduced to and the good food we tasted at every association we visited. We took lunch and dinner on our study visits, eating all kinds of traditional dishes, vegetarian mostly and Mediterranean, with fish, we all appreciated! It was the first time I ate sword fish, Canoli cake, all kinds of good pasta and rice, cous-cous, Tortina a tri sette (a very tasty dish made of three mashed layers -potato, spinach, carrots). For breakfast always buffet with tea, cappuccino or the famous Granita a caffè or a simple caffè e cornetto, pasticeria (meaning sweets) and fruit.Sicilians make an event of the dinner time, especially. It is the most important meal of the day, everybody joins around the table, they serve about 3, 4 or 5 courses and talk. Socialization around the table lasts for about 2 to 4 hours! And then you go to sleep, around 11 – 12 or even 1 o’clock in the night! But that is also ok. We had to make the best of every moment spent there, and spent together. You have enough time to sleep at home.

Socialization and friendship

What you also don’t see in this program is the friendship that linked us all together. We became a big, happy family. We worked and had fun as a real team. Maria Angela (Mari) and her boyfriend, Giuseppe, were great! Always natural, funny, helping. If it hadn’t been for their efforts, we wouldn’t have had this chance to see and learn so many new things. Salvatore was the heart of this team as he is a wonderful intelligent, amusing person, always knowing how to create the perfect atmosphere. Well prepared with information, he served the perfect guide for us and translator. And his amusing remarks and jokes cheered us up every day. His mastery in human nature was best seen in the last day, when he hosted at his association the closing ceremony and dinner..and the surprise he prepared. Rosario, the director of CESV, who accompanied us in our trips, and who proved to be a wonderful young person, hiding his English and singer talent under a serious mine at the beginning. He came round eventually…he had no choice with crazy participants! The Italian volunteers who helped Mari and CESV to bring to a happy ending all this effort demanding workshop.
As for me…I learnt Italian!! I wanted to and I had to. I studied it a little bit in college so I put to the test my whole knowledge and remains of memory. Everybody was polite enough to tell me I speak so good…though I was mumbling something between Italian, Spanish and Esperanto sometimes mixed with Romanian. Well, since Rosario didn’t speak English so well, as he said at the beginning, and since we didn’t always have a translator at hand, I had to play this part from English to Italian and vice verse and to Romanian at the same time. Am I a polyglot or not? The idea is that my efforts were paid in kind and I was able at times to manage to the end of a full correct Italian sentence. Lovely experience, beneficial to my personal development!

Closing ceremony and… last performance

The last evening spent together, we were first at CESV for the final evaluation. Mari made us a beautiful surprise asking all to draw and write whatever we felt about the workshop, with eyes closed. The result you can see it in the photo. Then in a wonderful musical atmosphere she gave each a red clown nose and a ladybug. (She volunteered herself in a program in Romania, with a clown troop, to make disabled children smile!)

The rest of the evening was spent at Salvatore’s association, Auser. Here we had dinner prepared by a Rroma Association from Kosovo and then…theatre. Salvatore is a great play director, with a rich activity in the theatre life and he wrote a short sketch for almost everybody. He and Vyaute presented the show. I was a little girl on a little yellow car asking for my weekly pay, Anna from Poland, a turtle wishing for freedom, Marjut – the turtle savior, Ufuk was Romeo and Felipa, Juliet, Muhsin – the blessing father, Dilek and so on, all with amusing roles we tried to perform as best as possible.Rosario was the single volunteer for Karaoke, of course that is because he was the only one, besides Salvatore, with worthy voice. And he was really the surprise of the evening in this position. He deserved all our applause.

At the end, Mari, Rosario, and Salvatore gave us all participation certificates and a beautiful gift, a ceramics with the sign of volunteering and a relevant slogan: Volunteers, make a difference! Pictures, kisses, hugs, goodbyes, tears, promises to keep in contact with each other. Sleeping time: 1 o’clock a.m. Waking time on the departure day: 5 a.m. Well, as I said, I slept at home.

What now?

Now, we go on. The show must go on. Even if the curtain falls, the actors stay behind together. We keep talking to each other on the forum from the CESV site, on e-mail and messenger. We shared photos and we plan for another occasion to meet each other, to visit each other, to work together on projects. This is the beauty of such activities: to go on. And to put into practice the things we learnt.As for myself and Sorin, this experience strengthen our beliefs about volunteering, its benefits for everybody including ourselves. We are encouraged to go on and support volunteers and volunteering and to find opportunities to volunteer abroad, to really live a different kind of volunteering experience, not in theoretical terms, but in practice.

Interview with Anamaria Cătănoiu

So, our message to the world: BE VOLUNTEERS, MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Here is our schedule, as promised, just to make an idea of our Sicilian working holiday.

Le forme dell’impegno sociale: volontariato e cittadinanza attiva
October 10-16, 2011
Messina, Sicily – Italy

SUN 09 OCT ’11_ MESSINAArrivalsLunch and/or dinner at Royal Hotel

9:00 – 9:30: meeting in the hall of Royal Hotel and walk to Workshop Venue: CESV Messina

10:00 -11:00: workshop official opening ceremony and press conferenceprof. Antonino Mantineo, CESV Messina presidentprof. Dario Careniti, Messina’s Councilor for Family Policy, multi-ethnicintegration and social services.dott. Rosario Ceraolo, CESV Messina director
11:00- 13:00: working sessionParticipants’ introduction CESV Messina Staff introductionCesv Messina Organization (Maria Angela Filocamo, project Coordinator)13:00- 14:30: lunch (organized by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop, Association 7000)

14:30 – 17:30: Training session on”Volunteering, Social commitment and active citizenship” Introduction to the workshop (Maria Angela Filocamo) „Volunteering and active citizenship: the different forms of solidarity” (Rosario Ceraolo, CESV Messina Director) Participants’ dossiers Volunteer Organizations contributions Daily report and introduction to the day after topic
18:30: bus (in front of the Hotel) to Workshop venue: Bottega Rapanui, Association 7000
19:00- 20.30 Study visit on „Ethically oriented and sustainable consumption”Welcome cocktail”Responsible consumption and models of social enterprise against criminality” (Associazione 7000 volunteers)Intercultural dinner (organized by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop)

22:30: back to the Hotel by bus

9:30: bus ( in front of the Hotel) to Workshop Venue: Consorzio SOLE”, Forte Petrazza
10:00-12:00 training session on „Fight against mafias and all forms of criminal organizations and corruption”
„Mafia, Missed Development and culture of legality”dott. Salvatore Rizzo ( CESV expert on promotion of voluntary work )Participants’ dossiersWorking groups

12:00- 13:00: study visit on „Local development and social inclusion”
13:00- 14:30: lunch (organized by Rapanui Fair trade Shop)

14:30: back to the Hotel by bus
16:30: bus (in front of the hotel) to Workshop Venue: Disio Hosteria (Villafranca)

17:30 – 19:30 Training session on „Ethically oriented and sustainable consumption”
„Life Styles and Cultural Heritage: The New Ethical Choices ” prof. Fabio Mostaccio (Political Science Faculty, Messina University) Participants’ dossiersDaily report and introduction to the day after topic
19:30- 20:30 : study visit on „Model of youth enterprise”
20:30- 22:30: dinner at Disio Hosteria, slow food restaurant managed by Magna Sicilia, youth cooperative
22:30: back to the Hotel by bus

WEDNESDAY 12 OCT ’11Workshop Venue: CESV Messina
8:30- 9:30: participants’ administrative fulfillments
9:30- 11:00 working sessionParticipants’ dossiers
11:00- 13:00: leisure activityVisit to the Cathedral and short sightseeing, guided by prof. Salvatore Ruggiano

13:30- 14:30 lunch (CESV, organized by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop)
16:30: bus (in front of the hotel) to Milazzo (ME) and leisure activity: sightseeing of Milazzo Workshop Venue: Mediterranima Slow food restaurant founded by Soc.Coop. Settima Stella

18:00- 20:30: training session on „Local development and social inclusion” with study visitFrancesco Giunta ( Soc. Coop. Utopia, president) Fabrizio Scibilia ( Soc. Coop. Settima Stella, responsible) Arch. Antonella Teatino ( „Mille tetti” Photovoltaic project, responsible) Saro Gugliotta (Condotta Valdemone Messina fiduciary, -slow food) Nuccia Formica ( AVULSS Milazzo Association, president) Padre Pippo Insana ( CASA Association, president )
20:30-22:30: dinner at Mediterranima
22:30: back to the Hotel by bus


9:00: bus (in front of the Hotel) to Workshop Venue: Parco Horcynus Orca

9:30-11:30 training session on „Environment protection and valorization” with study visit”Freedom, citizenship rights and civil economy”dott. Gaetano Giunta (president of Fondazione di Comunita)
Participants’ dossiers

11:30- 13:30: leisure activity (the Park is situated in the Strait of Messina, between two seas and many legends…)
13:30- 14:30: lunch organized by H.O. Youth cooperative of the network Parco Hocynus Orca

14:30: back to the Hotel by bus Workshop Venue: Royal Hotel
17:00- 18:30: intermediate workshop evaluation session

18:30-20:30 Training session on „Immigration””Discriminations and labour market” (dott. Sergio Villari, University of Messina) Tania Poguish (Migralab Association, president) Enrico Pistorino (MOV il Ponte Association, responsible for immigrants sector) Migrants organizations contributions
20:30 dinner (organized by Royal Hotel)


9:00: bus ( in front of the Hotel) to Workshop Venue: Forte San Iachiddu

10:00- 12:00: training session on „Environment protection and valorization” with study visit”Geo-philosophy and educational activities”prof. Sandro Gorgone ( University of Messina, Soc coop. SCIRIN president)

Volunteer Organizations contributions
Participants’ dossier

12:00- 13:30: excursion to Monti Peloritani

13:30- 15:00: lunch organized by Soc. Coop. Scirin

15:30: back to the Hotel by busWorkshop Venue: Royal Hotel

17:00: working sessiondaily reports

18:00: city centre promenade to Workshop Venue: Genio Civile ( Civil Engineer Corps)

18:30- 20:30: study visit on „Environment protection and valorization” organized byF.A.N.GO. Organization (with artistic performance and many other surprises)
Eng. Gaetanao Sciacca (Head of Genio Civile) arch. Giuseppe Aveni (Azienda Forestale Demaniale) Maestro Carmelo Citraro ( F.A.N.GO.) Gabriella Raffa and dott. Davide Mangiapane (F.A.N.GO. projectors)

20:30: city promenade to the Cathedral Square21:00: Dinner ( Pizza at „Campanile Restaurant” ) and walk back to the hotel


8:30: bus (in front of the Hotel) to Workshop venue: Francavilla di Sicilia (ME)

9:30-11:30: excursion to Parco Fluviale dell’Alcantara  Workshop Venue: Casa Famiglia „L’Eccezione”( home hosting people with psychiatric disadvantages)

11:30- 13:30: training session and study visit on
„Volunteering, Social commitment and active citizenship study” Giuseppe Bucalo (Penelope Association, president ) Volunteers Contributions Participants’ dossiers

13:30 -15:00: lunch organized by Penelope Association

15:00: back to the Hotel by bus Workshop Venue: Royal Hotel

19:00 – 21:00 working session

Workshop conclusion final evaluation
Workshop Venue: CESV Messina

21:00: Closing ceremony

21:30: farewell dinner organized by Baktalo Drom (association for the promotion of Roma Rights)

SUNDAY 16 OCT ’11Departures

P.S. And here is an example of the daily reports we had to do in teams.
Daily reportMonday, 09.Oct.2011
In the morning there was the meeting with all the participants in the hall of the Royal Hotel. Then we all went to the headquarters of the CESV Messina where we held the majority of our activities.     The workshop was officially opened by the representatives of the CESV, the president prof. Antonino Mantineo, the director Rosario Ceraolo, project coordinator Maria Angela Filocamo who presented their welcome speech in the presence of the mass-media (there was also a press conference with the direction of the CESV), a volunteer from another Association AUSER of Messina, Salvatore Ruggiano, who made the historical and cultural presentation of the city and Dorina Coman, translator and member of Totius Mundi Una Domus Association from Messina who helped with the translations, prof. Idris, Leone Fabio, president from AIS Sicily Onlus, Gabriella Raffa, David Mangiapane and Michele Cannaò from FANGUS Association, they all introduced themselves and spoke about their activities.

All the participants introduced themselves after words, saying a few things about themselves about the experience they have on volunteering and about the expectations they have on the workshop (sharing experiences, learning more about volunteering, making new friends and contacts for possible partnerships, and so on).

Maria Angela Filocamo, project coordinator, introduced the staff of the CESV Messina and then made a Power Point presentation about the way the volunteering centers and activity is organized and function in Italy and about the CESV organization in Messina. Rosario initiated a debate about how the volunteering activity is organized in the participants’ countries.     After the morning activities, during the lunch time we established the teams for the daily reports and the participants gave a short interview introducing themselves and the expectations on the workshop.Lunch was provided by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop, Association 7000, and was an occasion for discussion among participants, relaxation, jokes, and intercultural contacts.     After lunch there was the training session on “Volunteering, Social commitment and Active citizenship” were the participants presented their dossiers. The discussion was opened by Rosario’s presentation on “Experiences of social commitment, volunteering and active citizenship” from the civil, political and social point of view. He spoke about citizenship, and citizen rights, development of freedom and welfare state.

Then followed the presentations of the representatives from Latvia, Turkey, Lithuania and Romania.  Everybody spoke about volunteering in their own countries, in general terms and statistics, and then gave examples about the volunteering activities in their institutions and how they promote this concept of volunteering. They prepared power points, they accessed internet links with spots and songs and video clips trying to be as original and explicit as possible.

In the evening we went on a study visit on “Ethically oriented and sustainable consumption” at the Rapanui Fair Trade Shop, Association 7000, where we talked about “Responsible consumption and models of social enterprise against criminality”. Valentina and Enriko presented the association and its activity and then we debated all on the biologic and fair trade products, healthy food, giving examples of our own countries. Then we visited the shop and received explanations on the fair trade hand made products.    The night ended with an intercultural dinner where we served Sicilian traditional food from Messina (we asked about the recepies!). Toni and the staff from Rapanui were very hospitable. Everybody felt good and the atmosphere was really ….intercultural! (report written by Ana, Sorin, Olga, Danuta)

Tuesday, 11 Oct. 2011

On the second day we left the hotel at 9h30 to our Workshop venue, to Consorzio Sole which is in Forte Petrazza.
The topic was explained by Doc.Salvatore Rizzo (CESV expert on promotion of volunteer work). He is also working in the Forte Petrazza, which is an old fort initially build and used for military proposes. The fort get useless for this activity and mafia took advantage of the geographic position of the place and used it for their criminal activities, like for storing weapons and dangerous material (amiant). The forte is located on a hill next to Messina. The access to the fort is difficult, which make it easier to control it.
Years later, the building was confiscated to the Mafia and passed to local community. The space of the Forte was cleaned and restored by members and volunteers of Consorcio Sole, that keep on continuing its social aims. Forte is used by different social enterprises like Radio Street and for social and cultural events. The main objective of this activities is to promote the Forte like public space, open to the community (eg: concerts, workshops, adult and child training, etc.).
The training session of the day “ Fight against mafias and all forms of criminal organizations and corruption” was specific related to the activities of Mafia, made possible for the miss development and the culture of legality in Sicily. He began his presentation with three tragic stories which are the real examples of the mafia power and control in the local community.
After the training session and conversation we had lunch provided by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop (Tiramisu like all the rest of the food was wonderful!!!! ) we returned to Messina. We had some free time to get ready to visit Villafranca for the second training session which was held in Disio Hosteria.
Disio Hosteria it’s a slow food restaurant run by group of friends. The director introduced us the philosophy of the “slow food” and their own restaurant where they have created a “home for friends”. Another cofounder prof. Fabio Mostaccio from Political Science Faculty of Messina University presented us the results of his study about the fair trade and ethical consumption. The evening continued with slow- delicious- unbelievable- unforgettable- gourmet- dinner accompanied by good wine and friends.
(Filipa, Egle, Gamze, Nina, Sadik)

Wednesday, 12 Oct. 2011

In the first part of the day in the morning session there were representatives who presented volunteering in their countries.
First speakers were Anna, Marta and Danuta from Poland. Their presentation was about volunteering in Poland and they described one organisation which helps disabled people (blind and deaf).
The second presentation was about volunteering in Sweden. Katia mentioned the biggest volunteering organisation like The Sweedish Red Cross and about Svalorna.
The next presentation was about Finland volunteering (Marjrut). Volunteering situation is quite similar to Sweedish situation. 75%-80% of Finnish population are members of voluntary organisation.
The next one is Slovenia presentation from Nina. She told about Slovenia Philantropy which is the most active organization to promote volunteering,
The last is presentation from Dilek, one of the representative from Turkey. She told about Genctur – an organization International Voluntary work camps and Yasom. In Turkey, there is only5% volunteering in the total population.
Before lunch we visited to the cathedral and made short sightseeing, guided by prof. Salvatore Ruggiano. Lunch was organized by Rapanui Fair Trade Shop at CESV.
The biggest event of the day were sightseeing of Milazzo where we can admire very amazing panoramas like two seas and old climate castel.
In this beautiful places they were six presentation about local development and social inclusion from:
– Francesco Giunta
– Fabrizio Scibilia
– Arch. Antonella Teatino
– Saro Guliotta
– Nuccia Formica
– Padre Pippo Insana
Dinner at Mediterranima was very tasty, fast and slow (as we were told). After dinner everybody was happy and Salvatore was singing us on the way to the hotel (it’s beautiful and funny). We enjoyed a lot. At about midnight back to the hotel and fell asleep quickly and had nice and cheerful day. The next day…. (but it’s another story :p ).
(Anna, Marta, Dins, Ufuk, Annamaria)

Thursday, 14 Oct. 2011

Morning Session
Today our group visited Parco Horconymus Orca, and were given a lecture on Freedom, citizenship righta and civil economy by Dr Gaetano Giunta, President of Fondazione Communita de Messina. Mr Giunta pointed out that classical economic models (such as Simon Kuznets’ theory that inequality will first rise in the initial stages of economic development and then begin to decline as nations urbanize and industrialize) have all failed to distribute the fruits of economic growth and to create welfare equally to all groups in the society. Economic, social and cultural inequality hinders both human and economic development.
The foundation is promoting forms of social economy, solidarity and human development. It has formed a social cooperative that has invested in renewable energy (Marine power and solar panels). The profits from the sale of this energy are used for employing people from the criminal asylum with lowered working capacity. This example shows us how it is possible to promote social inclusion by operating outside the logic of the market.
After the session we made a tour of the park facilities and saw two art exhibitions. We also learned about the unique nature of the straits of Messina. Our lunch was organized by H.O. Youth Cooperative of the Parco Horconymus Orca. Here we are relaxing and waiting for our lunch on the beach.
Evening Session
The second working group session of the day was about discrimination in the labour market by Dr. Sergio Villari from the University of Messina. Discrimination means the exclusion of some groups (ethnic, sec, religion) from the distribution of social goods. Gender discrimination is a group of attitudes that keep alive an asymmetric division of social labour. Racial discrimination is unfair treatment of groups because of their cultural characteristics. Race, in fact, is not an empirical category but a social and cultural construct, an invention by a racist person wanting to justify his attitude and political implications. Race creates a hierarchical structure of social groups. Positive discrimination means the favoring a group based on this construct.
Discimination consists of biographic, social, structural and legal factors. For example, migrant women are discriminated against based on several factors, and often face double, triple or quadruple discrimination.
Biographic: theory of human capital claims immigrants have insufficient human capital (education, language) to succeed in the host society. Critique: second gen immigrants have the same problems. This theory has been abandoned.
Social: the theory of social capital explains discrimination by the migrants not being able to mobilize economic, cultural and social resources that would improve their or their children’s lives. However, also the surrounding society needs to be considered when analyzing causes for discrimination, not just the migrants resources. Structural factors also have a role to play.
Structural: functioning of the labour market. Migrants are often discriminated in the labour market: they receive more precarious jobs with lower salaries, worse working conditions and opportunities for promotions. Labour demand: stereotypes that immigrants are suited for certain types of jobs. Halo effect occurs when employers extend their prejudices to an entire group of migrants. The working conditions and career paths of migrants are also different from the natives’. They face inferior job classifications, unfair distribution of tasks and shifts or contracts, irregular work, and overrepresentation of immigrants in certain types of tasks. There may also be a glass ceiling that hinders their career development. Trade unions initially tried to restrict entrance of immigrants into the job market, then promoted equality of treatment, equality of opportunities and in the fourth phase this would extend to the globaöl level. The 2nd and 3rd phases in Italy only within the last 10 years.
Legal factors: Citizenship laws may limit the migrant’s rights. Residence permit in Italy, are temporary and based on documented job stability. Irregularity, uncertainty may lead to blackmail and exploitation of the immigrants.
The second speaker talked about the discursive practices and power in the treatment of Senegalese and Bangladeshi street vendors in Pisa. According to the speaker, this issue, instead of handling it as a question of trade regulations, is treated in the media within the discourse of security which arose in the 1990s in the context of Neo-liberalism. These discursive practices lead into the division of public space into areas for the wealthy and “no-go” areas, a “Punitive City”. All this raises the question of economic liberalism’s concept of freedom – Freedom, yes, but for whom?
Enrico Pistorino, member of the MOV il Ponte Association, talked about the House don Orione of Messina whose task is to receive immigrants and help them to find a job, arranging with them personalized projects of integration. Volunteer’s work and private donations are really important for running the House since the local government’s action is carried out only in presence of great fluxes of immigration which cause a situation of emergency and because of the lack of public funds available. Volunteers are involved in cooking and cleaning and do their best to give information, support and suggestions to migrants who look for a job. Unfortunately there are only few beds in the House and sometimes it could happen that some immigrants are excluded till a place become available. Anyway, the volunteers are always open to give hospitality to some of them, not letting anyone sleep outdoors.
The last speaker was Idriss Elshafie who comes from Sudan and who works for one of the three main Italian trade union organizations called Cgil. He arrived in Italy in 1986 to study and became a member of the African students’ Union. He understood very soon that Italian laws on immigration are characterized by a good deal of confusion since Italian government has tried many times to regulate such a delicate subject. Idriss began his work as volunteer in hospitals and in prisons where he helped foreigner people who spoke only the Arabian languages to communicate with the Italian public operators working there. His task was to translate from a language to another but actually he acted also as a intercultural mediator, trying to prevent immigrants from being discriminated. Today he’s still committed to promote and guarantee immigrants’ rights but mostly in the field of labour market.
The day was very informative and interesting, though we think some of the evening presentations were quite theoretical. We also got to enjoy the beautiful nature of the straits of Messina.
(Katja Frösen, Hanna Salokannel,Vytaute Murinaite, Valeria De Pascalis)

Friday, 14 Oct. 2011

Workshop venue: Fort Saint Jachiddu
We visited Fort Saint Jachiddu in the morning. It is an ecological park and a fortress building restored by Social Co-operative Scirin. The president of the co-op Sandro Gorgone introduced the morning topic of ”Geo-philosophy and educational activities”.
The name of the fort refers to Maria’s father and there may have lived a hermit called Saint Jachiddu in the place, but there is no proof of this. The fort was built in the 19th century and abandoned. The co-op restored part of the building in the end of the 1990’s but there was not enough money to complete the restoration. The fort is surrounded by green area where the co-op has created nature trails and organizes educational activities. The fort offers a good place for cultural events like theatre performances, concerts and art workshops like pottery making. There is an accommodation for 8 people in one of the buildings and they also offer meeting facilities, a small chapel, wrought iron museum and a library.
The co-op Scirin promotes Saint Jachiddu and nearby mountain area. They offer guided tours and there are informative boards on the nature trails. The most attractive natural event is the migration of birds from South. This happens every spring and many birds can be seen passing the area among them storks and flamingoes.
The target of the Scirin co-op has been to transform the old fort which is associated with war activities into a place of peace, peace with nature as well as peace among people. Good example of this is the old ammunition storage that has been transformed into a chapel. There are 8 people working in the co-op pr which 6 have another job.
Fort itself belongs to the municipality and they need to have a good relationship with the municipality. Scirin has received some money to restore the building, but there has been a lot of voluntary work involved. Sandro tells that they dream to promote ecological and cultural tourism in the area, even have some horses and donkeys to transport people. So far they are facing a lot of challenges; only few people appreciate the place and come to visit, few schools come with groups, but there is no public transportation to the fort and the road is very bad. They can’t have activities in the fort during the winter as it is very humid and cold.
After the introduction we walked one of the nature trails and took a look at the magnificent view over Messina in 300 meters above the sea level. We also got to taste some local berries and we were introduced to cork oak tree and other typical plants of the area.
Sandro Gorgone is also an assistant professor of philosophy in the University of Messina and he told us about geo-philosophy, which is philosophy of man living on earth. Geo-philosophy aims to a plurality of great spaces that can break the uniformity of the world, in which we live. According to this philosophy each landscape has a soul and each place exist both physically and spiritually. In a landscape three elements are joined: memory (history, stories etc.), symbolic and spiritual sense of direction and identity.
Sandro showed us photos of Italian landscapes that were typically Italian and easily recognized as Italian landscape. He talked about how crisis of rural world leads into crisis of the environment.
Agriculture should preserve the landscape and this is in his mind sustainable development. Modern agriculture has created landscapes that are no longer specific for the area, they all look the same wherever they are in the world. According to geo-philosophy quality landscapes are crucial for the well-being of people and we must protect local landscape.
Sandro also urged us that we need to go back to nature, but not in idyllic or nostalgic way. We need to recognize ourselves in the nature and live in peace with the nature.
After the lunch, excellent affair from Rapanui, Olga and Dins gave a presentation of environmental projects in Latvia. They told us about project Footprints and the Clean up day. This clean up day is an annual event that has been organized for 3 years now. Their target is to be the cleanest country in the world. This is a good challenge as Latvians have a lot of picnics during summer and many times leave their garbage in the forest and the beaches. In this year’s clean up Latvian collected nearly 3000 tons of trash, which was some what less than previous year. They thought that this was a good sign. That maybe Latvian’s have learned to be more tidy and there is less garbage to be collected.
In the 2012 there is an aim to get 100 countries join this Clean up day campaign. Already 60 countries have signed up. Finland and Italy were among the countries that have also done this activity in the past. You can read more about this activity
Marjut and Hanna from Finland presented their experiences in volunteering in environmental projects. Marjut had started a volunteer agency in 2008 that recruits volunteers to different animal
and nature projects around the world. She shared her motivations doing this. Hanna then told about her volunteer experience in Finland and joining project that Marjut has promoted on her website
Dilek from Turkey shared her thoughts about social entrepreneurship. She told us a story about creatures that lived in the river and clung to rocks so that they would not be swept away by the current. One of these creatures was very bored with this kind of life and started to think that he would like to let go and see what happens, so he told others about his plans. Other creatures called him a fool and told him that he would die if he let go. But he decided to let go anyway and was lifted up by the current. As he was taken past other creatures below, they saw him and were amazed by this creature that could fly. They called him a savior and asked to help them. He told them that he was going on an adventure and they could come if they just let go. But they did not believe him and kept calling him to help, but then he was already gone. Still the creatures in the river tell stories about the savior.
Dilek told about two projects in Turkey. Mikado consulting that has “The future is now bright” project which enables e-mentoring between students and professors. They have created an online sharing platform with talkrooms that are monitored by Mikado team.
Another project is by artist Nuri Kaya. There are photographs taken by blind people and then local writers have written stories to accompany them. They are exhibited on the street where the stories are written in blind writing and photos can be seen. Then the blind and seeing person can interact and talk about the story and the photo. Funding to this project comes from dinner in the pitch black.
Seeing people enjoy dinner and a performance in a darkness. They can’t see anything and thus experience how it is to be blind.
In the evening we visited the office of Genio Civile (Civil Engineer Corps) which hosts the Museum of FANGO. Fango is an organization that was formed after the disaster of 2009 when a tropical storm caused a mud slides and floods in villages near by Messina and caused a death of 37 people. FANGO art collection was started by a writer Dario Fo, a Nobel literature prize winner of 1997, that donated a painting. Now the collection has about 350 art pieces from 220 artists from Italy and around the world. FANGO is a modern art museum that does not have a building, rather the art is exhibited in the public office. FANGO and Genio Civile have a common project, called Montagna ad Arte in which they want to create a mountain of art and place the art pieces together with the civil engineering works in the area where the floods happened. The idea is to pay attention to the security aspects, but also help the villages in the area to create their own identity. They have proposed the project for EU funding as about 350-400 million euros are needed to secure the area.
They also want to raise awareness within the local population about the importance and protectionof nature.
(Marjut, Salvatore, Mushin,Mara)

Personal notes from Marjut:
For me this day was very interesting. I connected the geo-philosophy to the work that FANGO is doing and what I learned this day made me think of many things and possibilities for my work in Thailand as I am working in a village that was build after the Tsunami of 2004. I can’t call it a community as they do not yet have a common identity and they have in many ways lost more than family, friends or houses. The landscape was changed drastically, they were disconnected from their homes for many months and many people have not returned. Now I am thinking about ways to help them to build the identity for the place and for themselves. Some of that has been done already by creating a community centre where the locals can show their traditions and history of the Island.
I was also about 20 minutes away from Messina when the mudslides closed the street. At the time, I was mostly just annoyed that I had to spent extra 3 hours in the bus as we had to go around the area. Later we learned about the casualties of the floods, but only now I really understood what had happened.

So sad it is over…so eager to meet again! More pictures of this experience on Picasa:

3 comentarii la „Benefits of volunteering – Gruntdtvig Workshop in Messina, Sicily”

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