Since the beginning of 2017, the Italian city of Torino has offered the opportunity to migrants, foreigners and locals. Allowing them to gather together in an informal way, sharing knowledge and going beyond the traditional learning method. In fact, in Italy asylum seekers are generally included in the public schooling system. Classes are entirely formed by migrants and the aim is to bring the participants to the A1-A2 level. Thereby, they getting a middle school certificate.
On the contrary, SPEAK represents a great opportunity for migrants to get in contact with locals. Furthermore, the use of a language to learn more about a culture and traditions that, otherwise, would remain a separate and distant world to them.
In fact, as Jean Michel, the new Ambassador, says, “I like SPEAK. It’s a funny and effective way to feel useful, as a human being, in relations to the nowadays society needs: overtake invisible frontiers, work for peace where I am, in my town, in my neighbourhood; get to know foreigners and help them in a concrete way, and learn from them directly, in order to cultivate and promote the most valuable richness: friendship.” Jean Michel is French, but has lived in many different countries and represents a real “melting pot” of the world’s habits and traditions. That’s the energy he brings in the project here in Torino!
SPEAK represents a great opportunity for people who have never been to school. A participant shared, “My name is Boubacar and I enjoy the course because I want to learn reading and writing. I want to speak fluently in Italian. That way I will be able to find a job here.” Also, it enables newcomers to feel more independent and autonomous in a new city. Another participant shared, “This course helps me in feeling able to manage my daily life; for example, if I need to go to the hospital now I can communicate and understand what the doctors say”.
Talking to the Buddies and the participants involved in the project, the main and common feedback that you can get is a sense of positive involvement, a mutual desire of sharing and all in a nice and fun atmosphere. And these elements represent the main values and objectives that SPEAK aims at reaching and spreading.
The best sentence that defines this new experience can be summarized by the words of Youssouf. He shared, “I’ve followed many courses over the last year, but I never attended one like this!”.
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