Volunteer Refugee Project in Italy
- Placement locations: Reggio Calabria and Camini
- Role: To help mainly child refugees and migrants integrate into life in Italy by teaching them the skills they need
- Requirements: Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old
- Types of placement: Refugee centres
- Accommodation: Host family or apartment accommodation
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Europe is facing a refugee and migrant crisis: tens of thousands of desperate people from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are crossing thousands of kilometres of dangerous terrain and braving the Mediterranean in appalling conditions, to strive for a better life for themselves and their families. Hundreds perish en-route, often tragically in the last stretch of sea before they reach the European coastline.
For those that arrive safely, the struggle continues. Local government agencies and infrastructure have proven unable to cope with the sheer number of people arriving and in need of aid. There is a great deal that private individuals and organizations can do to fill the gaps and help the thousands of refugees and migrants in Europe.
Volunteering with Refugees and Migrants in Italy
Projects Abroad has partnered with local organizations operating in southern Italy to work directly with refugees and migrants. We have placements in and around Calabria.
As a volunteer, you will work in various locations around Calabria, where refugees and migrants have been relocated and housed. Here, you will be able to assist with various activities, including:
- Working in a reception centre to assist unaccompanied minors from Africa and the Middle East with integration into a new culture
- Teaching English or Italian
- Running sport sessions (mainly soccer)
- Running acting classes
- Taking children on outings
- Helping out at day care centres and providing care for children so that their mothers can attend language and integration classes.
- Assisting at cultural workshops that help refugees and migrants integrate into European culture (this includes discussions around religion, gender, working culture, and general life skills)
- Teaching music
- Supporting the local community at the Help Center, at a soup kitchen for migrants and homeless people, and helping sort clothes
- Participating in social events for women’s groups to help them interact with the local community
- Teaching general skills (such as basic IT)
- Interviewing refugees and migrants to assess their needs and expectations around life in Italy and their plans for the future
If you work in Camini specifically, you will work with children, teenagers, and adults. You will be involved with several projects in Camini, and your activities will include the following:
- Assist & run a daycare center for babies and children
- Provide English classes for children, teenagers, and adults
- Support disabled members of the community, assisting them in their homes to make sure they eat their meals, and help them move around when needed
- Plan and run workshops. You can choose to run workshops based on your own fields of interest that will benefit the community. Previous volunteers have run woodwork and painting workshops further developing skilled refugees and migrants, or teaching new skills to others
- Plan and run social activities for the community. Here, you can also choose what to introduce. Previous volunteers have organized walks, movie nights, and a beauty salon evening.
During your stay, you may have the chance to assist the local “Co-ordinamento” at the port of Reggio Calabria when there are boats coming in from Africa. If there is a need, you can help with the distribution of first necessity items, such as food, water, blankets, shoes, and clothing. You work can also including the organization and cleaning of the spaces at the port, and be available to support any refugee who might need help.
To join this project, you need to be at least 18 years old.
Your Role at the Refugee Project in Italy
A large variety of skills and expertise are needed at the Refugee Project. Each volunteer has something to offer and there is also a lot of space for you to contribute your own ideas of how to help, regardless of experience or skill level. Due to the urgent and unpredictable nature of this project, there is room for volunteers to use their own initiative in collaboration with the local partners and staff.
The Refugee Project in Italy is available from 2 weeks if you do not have time to join us for 4 weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.