Italian co-ops are helping to integrate refugees

31 Mar 2016

In Italy co-operatives are working to support migrants integrate, including asylum seekers and refugees. Camelot, a social co-operative in Bologna and Ferrara, Italy, works within the framework of Italy’s National Fund for Asylum Policy and Services.

The co-op provides a number of services for migrants and refugees, including mentoring, Italian classes, training courses and internships in organisations across the region. So far, it has worked with 541 adults and minors across Ferrara and Bologna. Set up by 12 young people in 1999, Camelot is now employing 200 people, 20% of whom are migrants.

Federico Tsucalas, who works at the migration office managed by the co-operative, told CECOP – CICOPA Europe (the European confederation of industrial and service co-operatives): “Ten refugees are already working in the field with us. We have a colleague from Pakistan who is a lawyer. At the beginning he didn’t want to stay in Italy, but now he works with the same working conditions as the rest of us. Some of them have asked to become members of the co-operative – and they will be very soon. In the meantime, they are already participating in the decisions made by the co-operative. They are not just mediators, and can tell that from the experience they have: as a result they are gaining more trust in us. They are valued members of our team”. Find out more about the project on CECOP’s website.

Photo: members of Camelot co-operative

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