Rome (NEV), December 31, 2016 – It was the 12th December 2014 when Mediterranean Hope (MH), the migration project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), started a new phase by opening in Scicli (Ragusa, Sicily) the “House of Cultures”: not only a welcoming and integration place for vulnerable migrants, but also a space for cultural exchange open to all. In the day of its second anniversary, great is the satisfaction of the people who have been working there since the beginning.
Francesco Sciotto, pastor of the Methodist church of Scicli declared: “It is a splendid experience so much more as we had imagined it exactly as it is: a place for those who pass by, but first of all a place of the town. The House is not only one of the activities of the churches, but became a point of reference for all the inhabitants of Scicli. The relations with the local institutions with which we are in contact (Police, Prefect’s office, the hotspot in the harbour of Pozzallo where migrants arrived by sea are collected) have been very positive since the beginning, but today the citizens of Scicli are those who have great expectations from us”.
Piero Tasca, operator present in the House from its start: “We all together have succeeded in creating important cooperation with some NGO’s like Terres des Hommes and Oxfam; in conceiving restarting paths for extremely fragile persons, in making others appreciate our efforts. It is something very rewarding and which makes one proud. A day at the House of Cultures is an experience, which goes beyond the work: the smiles donated by the guests, notwithstanding what they have passed through, their young age, their condition, is something which one will not forget. They are the people that I thank day after day, because they teach me how to face life from a different point of view”.
In the two years of activity, 613 persons passed through the House, 552 of whom were unaccompanied migrant minors. The project is supported by the 8 per thousand funds of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches and for some of the activities by the Evangelical Church of Westphalia (Germany). This is just one of the aspects of MH, a FCEI initiative which includes the ecumenical project of “humanitarian corridors”, a relocation desk in Rome and a permanent observatory on migrations on the island of Lampedusa.