There are 18,491 unaccompanied foreign minors (UFM) present in Italy now.
Sicily, with 43.1% of the presence in Italy, is the region that receives the greatest number.
Because of their state of solitude and abandon the UFM are one of the most vulnerable categories involved in the migratory phenomenon.
For all those for whom international protection has not been recognised, their 18th birthday marks the expiration of their minor’s residence permit and the premature exit from the reception system. This leads to a real possibility becoming illegal immigrants, as well as the loss of many acquired rights, and to the abrupt halt to any integration processes in course. Without any stable prospectives the youths return straight onto the street in a situation of extreme insecurity and vulnerability, risking exposure to illegality, trafficking and exploitation.
In the attempt to contain this phenomenon and ensure respect of the rights of young migrants, Cesvi has decided to focus on two complementary aspects of the delicate path towards integration of UFM: voluntary legal protection, and backing throughout the period up to adulthood with help towards achieving economic and housing self sufficiency.
This activity began in 2014, when Cesvi started to collaborate with the non-profit world and local authorities, in widespread reception, voluntary legal protection and socio-economic integration of the UFM in Sicily. Thanks to the collaboration network, built up with the public services and the private social sector, Cesvi now acts on behalf of UFM in other contexts nationwide.
Cesvi’s commitment to supporting UFM towards socio-economic self sufficiency has solidified, in particular in 2017, with the national project “Strada Facendo” (2017-2020). “Strada Facendo” is financed by 9 Italian foundations within the setting of the European program “Never alone. For a possible tomorrow”.
When Bakary left the Gambia he had many dreams. He struggles to tell them, as if to resist the memories. It was to chase his dreams that he left his homeland, setting out on a long and difficult journey through Senegal, Mali and Nigeria, ending up in Libya, where he embarked for the coast of Italy. For Bakary these were difficult months, and the problems did not end with his arrival in Italy: “I didn’t go to school, I couldn’t work, I had no money. I struggled: I ate, slept and that was all”.
Today, for Bakary, it is time for dreams again: after many escapes from problematic situations he arrived, alone as when he set out, in Bologna. Here he was accepted as one of the beneficiaries of Cesvi’s project which leads Unaccompanied Foreign Minors on a finishing course of study and professional training. In Bologna, Bakary is aware that the future is possible: “I have got my secondary school diploma, I am working and I am obtaining my official documents. The apprenticeship makes me feel very strong, fills me with positive energy. I would like to get a work contract, take classes to become a plumber and continue to live in Bologna with friends or my family. The future is already now”. Because now means school, training, official documents: all that is not yet guaranteed to many kids like Bakary.