Building a New Life
- 3 Articles
- Age 18
My dangerous seven-month journey from Gambia to Europe finally ended when I reached Italy via the Mediterranean sea. Arriving at the shores of Italy was an incredibly happy moment - I was so relieved. At the same time I was a bit confused and anxious, because I was wondering what kind of challenges will be awaiting me in this unknown country.
All I wanted to do was to finally move on with my life.
I knew that I would have some responsibilities, old ones and new ones. I would have to go back to school - since education is the key to success - and work towards my dream of becoming a radio host. At the same time I would have to learn the Italian language, socially integrate into a new society and make an effort to better understand the local culture.
I believe that for someone to really be part of a society, one must take part in community activities and contribute to the general well-being. This is why once I arrived in Italy I decided to become a volunteer. Today I am active in various youth groups and associations that work on youth development. Arte Migrante for example is a group focusing on social inclusion - we organize events to bring young locals and migrants together through music, storytelling and dancing. A few weeks ago I also started volunteering with UNICEF - I am supporting the local office in their communication and fundraising activities. The work environment is fun and I am learning a lot.
Sometimes my work is challenging though, because of the language barrier. I cannot always do or say what I want, even though I am working so hard on my Italian.
Through my engagement I met many people - nowadays the majority of my friends are Italian. I am particularly grateful to one of my friends who means a lot to me (you know who you are). She makes me feel loved and gives me courage to advance with my life. She has invited and included me in most social activities from the beginning, which helped me to integrate quickly.
Being a radio geek has motivated me to work hard in my new home. Already back in Gambia I used to present a radio program every week. After five months in Italy a lady who works at the center where I stay offered me to participate in a local radio show. Of course I accepted - with great joy - because radio is my passion and I love it!
So I created a program called “The Talent Show” where I invite young migrants who have talents. I interview them and discuss their experiences, their hopes and futures. This has been such an inspiring experience for me because these young migrants have so much talent and are super focused, working towards their dreams.
I am always happy and proud when I see young migrants ready to work hard for a better life. I am tremendously grateful that I have the chance to work at the radio station, since it has given me strength and hope to move on with my own life.
Being in Italy for one and a half years now, a few weeks ago I received humanitarian protection to legally stay in the country for two years. Looking back at my past, I consider myself lucky having this opportunity to start a new life - I hope for a better future in my new home.
I am so thankful to all the people who have helped me and keep supporting me - in one way or another - in building my future. I want to express my gratitude to all the groups and associations - like Arte Migrante, Porco Rosso, Cladus, etc. - for standing with young people, especially young migrants, helping us to realize our dreams.
Migrants and refugees have a right to learn, develop and live a peaceful life, like everyone else. Our struggles don’t define us.
The downfall of a man is not the end of his life - never give up, sky is the limit.