Visit to the exhibition "Faces to the future - with refugees for a new us" organized by Centro Astalli in Rome
A few days ago I visited the exhibition "Faces to the future - with refugees for a new us" organized by Centro Astalli in Rome who took place in the church of Sant'Andrea in Quirinale. The exhibition is set up with circular panels showing photos of men and women who arrived as refugees and now live in Italy. They tell, in their own words, about their experiences in their homelands, during their journeys and in Italy.
Centro Astalli is a support point for people who arrive in Italy after exhausting and often dangerous journeys and after having experienced, very often, serious episodes of abuse and violence. The exhibition was set up to celebrate the 40 years of activity of the center. The photos were taken by Francesco Malavolta, who has already immortalized images of migrants in many countries around the world. The people photographed are twenty, young and old, recently arrived or who have already made a new life for themselves in Italy, but always with hard work and often with pain, with nostalgia for their homeland and for their family.
The impression I got is that the purpose of this exhibition is to bring people closer to refugees so that they can get a better idea of what men and women forced to flee their countries have had to face, but also to learn more about the difficulties of integrating in a new country. Refugees, then, are a source of inspiration and courage and have stories and traditions that we can learn more about and celebrate.
In a world increasingly marked by division and individualism, I find initiatives like this extremely important to remember that we are all one, and that only by walking together we will be able to save this adrift planet of ours, and create a world where everyone will have access to the same rights.
The Taliban destroyed the school where I was teaching English to children. I ran away because a teacher who cannot teach is dead even when he is alive. Now I am safe in Italy, but my family is stuck there. All my efforts are to try to get my brothers who are in danger of dying here.
I was a boy when I left Mogadishu. I became an adult on the road. I crossed the Mediterranean on a boat, many of those who were with me died at sea. The future is here, where I am free to live my life without fear of being tortured or killed.
I fled the war in Kosovo when I was just a boy. I made the journey alone. Here in Italy I was welcomed and protected. Today I am the father of two boys, and for them, more than anything else, I wish that they will never have to go through what I had to endure.
When I think about my life, the most important lesson I have received is that until the sun dies and everything around it is completely dark, you cannot lose hope that the stars will shine again.
Centro Astalli is the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service - JRS. For 40 years it has been carrying out activities and services aimed at accompanying, serving and defending the rights of those who arrive in Italy fleeing from war and violence, not infrequently from torture. Centro Astalli is also committed to letting the public know who refugees are, their stories and the reasons that brought them here.
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