ITALY Cultural integration –“Turin my home town” project

Since 2000, we co-finance the project promoted by MEIC (Ecclesial Movement of Cultural Commitment) and “Mondi in città”  for facilitating the integration of immigrant women from North African countries of Islamic culture, through Italian language courses and citizenship education paths.
Women can  bring their preschoolers, attended  by a baby-sitting service during lessons.
The initiative is unique in Italy for the high participation of Arab-Islamic women and involves more than 250 women and 100 children every year.
This is a precious opportunity for North African women to regularly attend lessons, with the approval of their husbands and without separating themselves from younger children. They can lear Italian(with the possibility of accessing the A2 or middle school diploma exam at the CTP) and start a journey of knowledge of Italian culture and laws, health services, education and civil coexistence through meetings with experts, guided conversations, visits to the city of Turin and its services.
Women immigrants from Islamic Countries are a particularly weak segment of the population: they usually come to Italy for family reunification, and rarely access Italian schools for foreigners.
For cultural and family reasons, they are not used to attend culturally mixed environments, which are not liked by their husbands, who do not consider their knowledge of  Italian a necessity. Moreover, being mostly mothers, they have preschoolers who don’t know whom to leave to.
On the contrary, we believe that being women and mothers is a great incentive to open mind and heart to the possibilities and values offered by the Country where they live and which they and their children are called to interact with.
The activities are currently carried out in four offices in the areas with the highest immigration rates (Barriera di Milano / Porta Palazzo, San Donato, Lingotto, Vanchiglia). We operate in a Civic Library, in an oratory and in two city district offices.
In 17 years more than 2000 North African women have found the courage to leave their houses, with a path of personal growth that has allowed to overcome mutual distrust and to build relationships of trust and collaboration that have helped them to feel aware and active citizens.
As a consequence,  some of them started to actively collaborate in the project working as cultural/linguistic mediators, educators or baby-sitters.
Between the working team and the women correct, affectionate and continuous relationships are born, as examples of good social behavior and mutual closeness.
Our modality of intervention has become over the years a model for both Piedmont and other Italian Regions.
The activities are managed and animated with enthusiasm and competence by a working team of 35 people ( teachers, cultural mediators, instructors, and baby-sitters),  mostly volunteers, both Italian and North African.
In 2022 an INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP was opened for forty members, chosen from among the most willing students of the four sites.
They will be involved in the following activities: consolidation of spoken Italian, exchange of life stories, debates on current issues, deepening of the use of media, organization of cooking, sewing, natural medicine, drawing, embroidery, and body care laboratories, organized outings and visits connected with the activities carried out.
Two women entertainers will always be present in the laboratories and, in some cases, they will invite experts who can answer the questions of the participants.
The activities are managed and animated with enthusiasm and competence by a working group, made up largely of voluntary women, either Italian or North African, including teachers,cultural mediators, educators, baby-sitters.