Facilitator in Italy

Coordinator at GUS - Human Solidarity Group – CAS Centre

Giovanni's Story

GUS  is a non-profit organization managing CAS (Temporary Reception) andSPRAR (Second Instance Reception) reception centres for refugees and asylum-seekers.

During his stay at the SPRAR, Nejat collaborated with GUS as a cultural mediator on an ad-hoc basis. Later he received a permanent contract because of his personal character, perseverance and enthusiasm.

Nejat has all the qualities needed to make a good cultural mediator, including a great problem-solving attitude. As a mediator, he often alleviates potential conflicts among beneficiaries and social workers. Clashes can occur from frustrations or due to traumas experienced along the journey to Europe and of course due to the long stay in reception centres. While initially Nejat mostly mediated within the Afghan community in reception centres, he quickly applied his mediation skills with beneficiaries from other geographical areas as well. The fact that Nejat was an asylum seeker himself is a great asset for his work as a cultural mediator, as most asylum seekers look up to Nejat as an example of successful integration. Nejat learned the Italian language quickly and he now often remarks the importance of taking Italian language courses to other guests in the centre. Nejat promotes the theory that the period of stay in the reception centre is not only to wait for a status, but it is also an opportunity to improve oneself and take full advantage of all the opportunities offered.

“What has distinguished Nejat among others is his broader perspective of the migration path, as he used opportunities and creativity to enrich his own life.”

The GUS offers beneficiaries professional courses matching the demand and the economic vocation of the country. In the future, we are hoping to invest in courses aimed at establishing farming businesses, to help beneficiaries to become economically independent. I would suggest to other coordinators and social workers in reception centers to pay close attention to the skills that each individual possesses; to give them the confidence they need and to provide opportunities to allow them to grow. To employers, I would suggest to use the chances provided by internships, and to open your minds and overcome prejudices when assessing someone’s skills.

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