Belonging Needs Perseverance and Strength

Belonging Needs Perseverance and Strength

Migration is as natural as breathing, as eating, as sleeping. It is part of life, part of nature. So we have to find a way of establishing a proper kind of scenario for modern migration to exist. And when I say 'we,' I mean the world. We need to find ways of making that migration not forced”.
Gael Garcia Bernal

Today, people are moving for many different reasons: to escape poverty, conflict, and devastation within their own countries.

During the focus group interviews with people who have longer-term experience of moving to Italy I heard unbelievable stories and those of a sad fate.

Lack of economic resources and opportunities drove Brazilian, Albanian, Syrian and African young women to migrate, to leave their countries, often through illegal brokers.

All participants had a lot to share about their lives, stories, families, me too! Perhaps during these interviews, you understand that people suffer more than you, that their life was more complicated than yours.

Our integration process in Italian society began primarily with language learning, securing work, securing housing. Additionally, refugees and immigrants are easy victims of discrimination of all its shapes. We don't know our rights or the laws, which brings us a lot of difficulties, legal or not.

I want to talk about the sense of belonging!

Albanian woman: She arrived in Italy with her family on a fishing boat in 1997 and is now an Italian citizen. In other words, it is possible to be an Italian citizen with all the rights as an Italian person.

I want to talk about understanding the culture and costumes of Italian society!

African woman: The difference in religion and costumes are huge between the countries of Africa and Italy, but with the permission of God, every one of us can have the freedom to access what we need.

How are we capable of understanding and using this?

To accept other cultures is one of the most crucial integration features.

Do we ever think to belong to this country?

Despite all these challenges, the people I worked with were influential and grateful for the opportunity of being in Italy. I found myself constantly impressed and amazed by their perseverance and strength.

The author Reida Goberja

This post is the result of reflections and experiences of the group of young peer researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart of Milan, Italy. In the UCSC MIMY team, peer researchers have been precious; they became passionate about the activities, actively contributed, and provided an alternative point of view to the research team, influenced by their own migration experience.