Refugee Project in Italy
- Placement locations: Calabria
- Types of care projects: Refugee centres
- Role: To assist refugees and migrants arriving by boat in Italy
- Accommodation: Host family or apartment accommodation
- Price: From
- What's included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport,transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What's not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Requirements: Volunteers must be aged 18 or older
- 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, all for the chance for a better life for themselves and their families. Many die en route, often tragically in the last stretch of sea before they reach the European coastline.
For those that arrive safely, the struggle often doesn’t end. Government agencies and infrastructure have proven unable to cope with the sheer number of people arriving and needing help. It’s up to private individuals and organisations to take up the slack and help the many thousands of refugees and migrants already in Europe and who are arriving daily.
What does the Refugee Project involve?
Projects Abroad has partnered with local and international organisations operating in southern Italy to work directly with refugees and migrants. This includes ‘first response’ work to assist refugees and migrants as soon as they arrive on the Italian coast, and ‘second response’ work to help them access services and support as they adjust to their new lives.
We have partnered with an international NGO to help with logistical support for their ‘first response’ operations.
Refugee boats arrive here directly, dropped off by patrolling navies and coastguards. When a boat arrives, volunteers will help to collect personal information, perform emergency medical screenings and other tasks to make check if the refugees are in need of additional assistance. Medical students would be particularly helpful at this placement. Speaking English or French is very useful, as many of the refugees and migrants are from Africa.
Projects Abroad has also partnered with a local organisation that provides social support for refugees and migrants. We work in various locations around Calabria, where refugees and migrants have been relocated and housed. This social support includes helping deal with legal and human rights matters in Italy and possible family searches in Europe. Refugees and migrants also have to attend special language and culture classes. A large variety of skills and expertise are needed at this placement.
There is also space on this project for volunteers to contribute their own ideas of how to help, whether through translation work, assisting the elderly or volunteering at city halls. 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.
Your role as a volunteer
We're looking for volunteers with the following skills:
Medicine or nursing students who speak English, French or Arabic to:
- Assist with medical screenings as refugees and migrants land
- Accompany sick people to hospital, help unaccompanied minors with screening, and follow ups
- Work with local doctors to respond to emergencies and severe cases
- Regularly check the status of people at the transit centre
- Support refugees who are in the process of integration, have spent some months in the country and may need medical care, especially those who might need assistance in English or French
Psychologists and therapists who speak English, French or Arabic to:
- Give psychological support to people who arrive on boats after the traumatic experience of travel and to offer support for those who have lost some member of their family during the journey
- Support refugees and migrants already in Italy for a few weeks or months who might need help making sense of everything that has happened to them
- Support young people and children who are traumatised by the journey or loss of family
- Support men who are alone without their families and need to face the new and unknown
Psychology students with at least one year of psychology-related studies are more than welcome to join.
General volunteers (no specific skills required) to:
- Accompany refugees day to day, helping with paperwork and shopping, and accompany them as they cannot move around unescorted until they obtain authorisation and documentation from the government.
- Do activities with young people, who need to move, create, go out and talk to others
- Accompany and assist refugees and migrants in their paperwork and integration process in general
The listed minimum duration for the Refugee Project in Italy is 2 weeks, however if you’re unable to volunteer for 2 weeks or more, please get in touch. One week placements can be arranged for this specific project.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.