This is the story of Salim, Loes and Schulamit, three little girls coming from Eritrea and relocated in Holland (the first one) and in Sweden. These girls have already travelled a lot, more than any other Italin child and they have already faced a hard reality. It is true that everyone has its own problems, its own obstacles and that every person deals with them in several ways. And this is what our little girls did. Salim together with her mother Abeba and her sister Lidia while Loes and Schulamit together with their mother Mbrak.
Salim arrived in Progetto Itaca in August 2016. Her family was the first family hosted by Progetto Itaca. Loes and Schulamit, on the contrary, arrived in November 2016. Given their age (between 6 and 8) Itaca’s education stuff decided to send them to “F.Filzi” primary school in Lecco. This little school, in which teachers are very experienced, secured them a gradual social inclusion and a faster way to learn Italian. All this because of the activities organized for foreign students and because of the willingness of Italian parents to create a supporting net for all children and parents with problems.
Teachers in Bonacina school organized an inclusion workshop that led children to get to know and that helped foreign students to learn Italian language: Italian students were required to learn how to read and write while foreign students were asked to learn Italian. Thanks to artistic workshops, every child achieved its own objective. An example? The poster with handprints to teach the difference between right and left and to explain what is symmetry; the four seasons tree used to show the cycle of nature and every word related to it; the handmade book children wrote by themselves used to learn mathematics. They also dealt with the idea of art and creation (in fact, with imagination, hands can become leaves and stains could be butterflies) and they took care of a plant which growth progresses stood for their achievements.
School time revealed every girl ability: Loes is characterized by curiosity and a big desire to learn; Schulamit is always in search of something new and Salim is a little girl but with a deep sense of responsibility and protection.
The time for Salim to go to Holland arrives and so the time for goodbyes. Schulamit entered the classroom Salim used to be in, while Loes moved to an advanced class. Therefore, the goodbye party turned into a welcome party which symbol was a poster showing children’s footprints. Students showed, again, their willingness to integration. Why? Because a child is “only” a child!
During the academic year students went on class trips and the one that most impressed Shulamit is when they all went visiting Carozzi cheese factory, because she hates cheese!
Thanks to Schulamit and Loes Eritrea came in touch with popular traditions of Bonacina district in Lecco. How? Because of the project named “Taking care of public goods” organized by local government in Lecco. “F. Filzi” school joined the event and students made a plaque to promote Saint Egidio Church, an important monument for the district.
Students, led by their teachers, rediscovered their neighborhhod through the stories and myths of Angelo Borghi, a local historian, who focused on “L’eremita del Passo del Lupo“, “La Valle dei Merli“, “Corna Beatrice” and “Il Santo del Portichetto“. Children drew the story with the help of Luisa Rota Sperti, a painter. Working with their imagination they chose a character of a myth and then created a new story.
Some students, with the help of the teacher Paola Fumagalli, drew the church by using every possible perspective and their drawings gave birth to the tourist plaque which is currently in use. Some other groups focused on Bonacina mill, which was very famous in the past for the way wheat was produced. Students visited Valsecchi mill and they planted wheat seeds; then they saw an oven and they cooked their own bread.
During the event that took place in May 26, students performed some scenes based on the novel “I Promessi Sposi” like insurrection of bread and goodbye to Cecilia. Local authority for culture Simona Piazza congratulated teachers and children: “You all contributed to the growth of our city. We could improve with your help!”
Progetto Itaca stuff thanks very much Antonella, the teacher, for making Salim and Schulamit feeling home. Special thanks also to teacher Brunella for discovering Loes love for school, especially for mathematics!
Me: “Thank you for what you did and what you will do!”
Teacher Antonella: “We gladly do it, but, when they leave, a piece of our heart goes with them!”
In fact, people from Eritrea have the possibility to ask for relocation and to ask for protection to another country, even if the first European country they enter is Italy, as the Dublin Regulation establishes. So, with the help of IOM they are relocated to another European country.
Progetto Itaca tackled with many relocation procedures: Yodit, Abrehet, Zebib, Yerusalem, Mhret, Merhawit and her baby Niyat moved to Germany; Mbrack, Loes and Schulamit reached their family in Sweden and Mbrak and her three children Mary, Samile and Muse moved to Belgium.
They are all good and they are starting their new life. Loes and Schulamit wrote us they miss Italy, their classmates and friends; Mbrack told us she enjoyed her stay in Italy where we made her feeling at home!