Italy: Migrants attend Bergamo's 'Academy for Integration'

A group of migrants attended the 'Academy for Integration' scheme in Bergamo on Friday where they took part in classes and cleaning work and sat down together for a meal. The academy is a pilot project aimed at the active integration of asylum seekers, focused on language and civic and professional training, according to the organisers. After one year at the facility in northern Italy, the... Еще voluntary participants can take advantage of an internship and possibly an employment contract at a company in the Bergamo area. Those taking part do so on a voluntary basis. «We don't enslave or militarise anyone. It's not our style. Let's try to offer, also through some rules and timing, a better integration,» said Roberto Trussardi, director of the Bergamo branch of the Catholic Church's Caritas organisation. The 'Academy for Integration' is promoted by the Municipality of Bergamo, the Ruah cooperative, the Catholic Church and Confindustria Bergamo (the national chamber of commerce). The project is reportedly among those that apply for national funding to help with the integration of migrants. There are currently 30 asylum seekers taking part in the project, with that number set to increase to 60. «We tell them 'You'll learn Italian, we’ll tell you how we are, since you live in our county, you have to know how we are; not just that we have to know how you are,» said Christophe Sanchez, the academy’s director. Yarthe, an asylum seeker from Gambia said, «I really appreciate being in the academy because the academy is teaching me a lot Participants follow a strict schedule, waking up at 6.30 am, before cleaning their accommodation. Following that are three hours of Italian lessons, one hour of professional training, including use of tools, safety and first aid; then in the afternoon they clean parks and streets, and carry out maintenance of cycle paths. After dinner, until 22.00, they do individual or group study. The programme runs from Monday to Saturday.

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