It was just eight o’clock in the morning on that Tuesday, October 31, 2023, and with a full tank of gas, we set out to take the road that led us out of the lively Palermo. Palermo had already been awake for several hours as we headed towards Enna, through a route that, leaving the coastal landscape behind, was taking us towards the deep interior of the island.
We were traveling with the motivation that characterizes first encounters, an open door, a microphone on, the initial meeting between two partners. It would be the first time that the Giosef ESC Palermo team would meet the team members of the Poli Sociali Integrati Sicilia. It was also our first excursion together.
The conference took place at the Hotel Federico II, at the city’s outskirts. After institutional greetings and other acknowledgments, the teams of the various “Poli Sociali Integrati” had the opportunity to show their face, their message, and to make known the main motivation and methodology they represented, highlighting what differentiated them from each other.
The “Poli”, funded by the Sicilian Region – Department of Family, Social, and Labor Policies – within the P.I.U. Su.Pr.Eme. program (Individualized Paths for Exiting Exploitation), aim to improve the quality and accessibility of territorial services (social, health, housing, employment) and to develop strategies capable of structuring a service offering useful to prevent and counteract labor exploitation, accompanying foreign citizens towards autonomy.
After the light lunch and the return to the road, the conclusion danced in our minds that the work of this entity reflects in society like a lighthouse, whose light illuminates the turbulent waters of immigration. The operators of the Poli are like guardians of this lighthouse, guiding ships of various stories and cultures through the darkness of the unknown. In this journey, each beneficiary is like a unique ship, carrying not only their physical belongings but also their dreams, hopes, and challenges. The Poli lighthouse not only points the safe path but also provides a support harbor where torn sails can be repaired and supplies loaded for the journey.
At times, the waves can be overwhelming, and the “Poli’s” task is to act as an anchor, providing stability amid uncertainty. Just as the lighthouse guides with its light, the “Poli” illuminates opportunities and available resources, allowing those navigating these waters to find safety and belonging in their new home, that is, inclusion.
In this journey, the “Poli” lighthouse is not only a symbol of orientation but also of compassion and understanding. They offer a friendly hand, recognizing the courage and circumstances of those venturing into unknown waters and work to build bridges connecting the islands of cultural differences.
Image from the illustration contest for the P.I.U. Su.Pr.Eme. program (Individualized Paths for Exiting Exploitation).
We thank the Polo Sociale Integrato di Palermo for the invitation to this event and all the people who participated: Stefania Congia, General Directorate of Immigration and Integration Policies of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, followed by Paolo Amenta, President Anci Sicily; Maria Letizia Di Liberti, General Manager of the Department of Family and Social Policies of the Sicilian Region; Michela Bongiorno, Manager Service 3; Francesco Di Venti, Councilor for social policies of the Municipality of Enna; Gianpietro Losapio, Director Consorzio Nova; Salvatore Cappellano, Iblea Territorial Services; Matteo Biffoni, Anci Delegate for Immigration and Integration Policies; Saverino Richiusa, Official, Service 3.
Borja Cortés Martínez
ESC Volunteers of the Giosef @ Palermo Project | Creating a Cross-Cultural Impact