Children from all over the world learning to know each other
thanks to the AiCS project BRIDGES.
At his first Public Community event in Florence, the Italian and foreign children play together knowing each other.
The 12th of October is the day of the Volunteering Festival at Villa Pallini, headquarter of the District 5 in Florence. Together with all the invited citizens and more than 27 no profit organisations into the district 5 of Florence, there is also the European project BRIDGES – Building Relationships and Integration by Developing local Groups and Enhancing Solidarity. The project is co-funded by The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and managed by AiCS as the leader of a partnership composed by 9 organizations from 5 EU countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia and Austria). The project raises the challenge of fighting xenophobia, cultural barriers and social divisions by promoting community cohesion.
The participation at the Volunteering Festival gives BRIDGES project the opportunity to introduce the foreign associations gathered by the work of AICS Community Organiser, in order to present the local community and involved no profit organisations BRIDGES project, its objectives, phases. This the first Public Community Event, organised with the aim to start up the promotion of the interactions between the local community and migrants. During the Festival, BRIDGES project has a stand, which becomes the “showcase” for the foreign associations that have joined the project to introduce themselves to the local community of the district and to animate the festival with the cultural and sports initiatives they prepared: the foreign associations, representing Perù, Colombia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Senegal, engaged people of every age, kids, youngsters, adults and seniors, to join the Festival.
Among the activities carried out by the associations and coordinated by the AICS Community Organisers, there is one that involved many children, both locals and migrants, together: the “Leyendo pinto” workshop, organized by the “Colombia ES” association which through the drawing and reading of Colombian stories aims at teaching Spanish language. Usually the activity is carried out in schools, but in this case, it was designed to involve all children living in the neighbourhood. In fact, almost all the children present at the Festival participated regardless of the Country of origin of their families. In some cases kids of 4-5 years old playing together, regardless the language spoken, “got dirty” with colours together, thus having fun and involving their parents and families. The contagious way to experience the workshop became for parents, standing by children, a way to interact with the other families and having fun. Parents showed interest especially to the particular colours and shapes of the carnival masks that their children were drawing and wearing. Every mask had a meaning to be discovered into the Colombian culture and a Spanish word to be used. The workshop thus becomes the opportunity for both adults and children to interact with each other and create new relationships. A Colombian family and an Italian kid with his mum and grandparents were particularly engaged: it came out that the kids were from the same school but it was the first time for families to spend leisure time together! During the day masks were used to go through the other Festival’s stands to introduce participants to the workshop, to the Colombian-cultural initiative and to engage them. Colours, pencils, paper, table, sits, some basic Spanish words and a piece of free garden were the basic and simple ingredients of an activity especially designed to enabling, minute-by-minute, the engagement of a multitude of people into a funny – interaction driven – collective itinerant show.
Such a story is only a small example of the value that can be generated for the neighbourhood when the Community Organizers promote interaction and collaboration between the various associations (Italians and foreign) and the citizens who live this territory. The events promoted by the BRIDGES project will offer the opportunity to strengthen this spirit of collaboration born on this day.