Meeting Up with our Friends Refugees from Mali

The YEP project provided a crucial opportunity for the young leaders gathered in Florence, allowing participants to compare and contrast their experiences in Florence, a hub of European culture. This was achieved through  listening and mutual exchange, essential tools to improve opportunities for peaceful and constructive dialogue and coexistence that takes into account each participant’s background. This activity also provided a networking opportunity, creating the potential to share future projects in each other’s countries.

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The participation of Malian refugees, who have been part of the 2014 hosting project by the Florence prefecture, followed by the ‘Cenacolo’ cooperative, added great value to the activities. For the morning, YEP participants prepared a series of team-building and ice-breaking activities followed by an intercultural dance night for the project.

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The project successfully demonstrated the positive impact that sharing goals and ideas can have for reciprocal sharing of emotions and finding solutions to existing problems.  Samba, a refugee from Mali who arrived in Sicily, said: “This has been one of the few nice moments, helping us to forget all the bad experiences we’ve been through”. Although many of them are still not in a place to do so, the chance for them to laugh together has been the first step to acceptance. “Given the great success for the positive exchange climate that has been created, in future we would like to have greater participation on behalf of youth in Florence in similar activities, and create further opportunities for exchange even outside the scope of Erasmus+ projects” maintained Aferdite Shani, the president of ICSE & Co. association.

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