The event “Stories of Migration, Stories of Lives”, organized by CET Platform Italy, partners in the Erasmus+ KA2 project “It’s all about Solidarity” coordinated by the International Foundation for Y-PEER Development, took place yesterday, 20th of January 2020, in two of the welcome centres for unaccompanied minors of Caserta, the city where the NGO is based.
The youngsters from the centres have turned for the occasion into “living books”, with pages made of sounds, looks and gestures, and their stories made available to other people that subscribed for participating in the event during the previous days.
The event featured stories of refugees and asylum seekers, but not only: migrants from different countries, first and second generation migrants living in Italy, third-country nationals belonging to the associations and communities of migrants residing in the province of Caserta also participated.
In order to create a safe and comfortable environment for everybody, the human library was introduced by ice-breaking activities that allowed to create a first bond of trust with the audience and introduce some of the topics of the event.
All participants – “books” and “readers” – were divided in mixed groups and one of the activity was to draw a perfect city, just the way the members of that group imagined. While presenting the different cities, there were recurring themes: freedom of movement, freedom of religion and expression, importance of social security, educational and sport facilities.
After a short break, the Human Library started with the projection of one of the 5 videos that will also be part of the main outcomes of the project, the video of Feifei Zeng, young migrant from China who took part to the Training Course “Storytelling for Youth Workers: The Power of Words” last November, and who is also member of CET Platform Italy. Each story lasted about 15-20 minutes. The participating “books” were prepared beforehand, through specific meetings, about how the method would work and were encouraged to share autobiographical stories; nevertheless, considering that some participants were very shy or with little knowledge of the host language, some of them were narrating stories from friends or relatives, with the support of the members from CET Platform Italy.
The initiative was a success because it involved and reached different profiles; for the “participants-books” it represented an almost therapeutic moment, also increasing their trust and self-confidence, while for the “participants-readers” it has been an opportunity to meet and discover, and sometimes to question stereotypes and prejudices.