Migrants: Three New Structures for Migrant Reception in Messina

From Stampalibera.it – The Messina local council is continuing with the city’s approach to a spread-out reception system. Adhesion to the SPRAR network,* promoted by the council aide for Social Policy, Nina Santisi, has allowed the openning of three new structures minors today, aside from those already present for adults migrants and nuclear families (“ordinary SPRAR centres”) and adults with particular needs (“vulnerable SPRAR centres”).

The beneficiaries – unaccompanied migrants under-18 – will be welcomed into three separate recognised and authorised buildings in the North, South and centre of the city, managed by the social cooperatives “Medihospes” and Utopia-Oxfam.

The first building, “Casa Tourè” will host 10 minors; the second, “Casa Michelle”, 15, and the third 10 – a total of 35 young people. The minors hosted in the structures come from the initial reception centres* and landed in the main Sicilian ports.

Forty-three professional figures will be employed across the three structures (mentors, psychologists, legal assistants, linguistic mediators and language teachers).

On Saturday 12th May at 9.30am (in the council lobrary, on the first floor of the Palacultura on Viale Boccetta) a the new residents will celebrate a ‘pact of welcoming’ into their new city. The event will take place in the presence of an important witness, Francesco Ohazuruike, author of the book “Negro. La verità è che non potete fare a meno di noi” – ‘Negro: The Truth Is You Couldn’t Do It Without Us.’

Francesco Ohazuruike is a chemical engineer, born in Catania in 1982 to Nigerian parents who had emigrated to Italy in the mid 1970s. He studied in Sicily and then moved to Turin. As his book explains, his childhood was marked by prejudice and experiences which taught him the value of human relations.

The council aide, Nina Santisi, comments: “The event is an occasion to underline that the city of Messina is consciously engaged not only in migrant reception, but above all in processes of inclusion that look towards the future of these new generations.”


* SPRAR = Protection system for asylum seekers and refugees
* initial reception centres = centri di primissima accoglienza


Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus

Translation by Richard Braude