Photo credit: City of Bologna
Photo credit: City of Bologna

Thirty asylum seekers in Bologna have offered to clean up public areas to help their hosting community after they had to leave their country due to persecution.

Thirty asylum seekers from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Biafra, Senegal, Guinea, Pakistan and the Ivory Coast welcomed as part of the project SPRAR (the protection system for asylum seekers and refugees) have offered to clean public spaces in Bologna thanks to the local project "Bologna Si-cura", which promotes integration and cooperation to improve cohabitation and cleanliness. 

The local administration said in a statement that 27 young men and three young women aged 18 to 31 will be working on a voluntary basis alongside associations already operating locally to give a hand to the community.

Volunteer work in downtown Bologna 

The group already started working on July 2 in the most popular areas of the city center, including piazza Verdi, piazza San Francesco and the park of Montagnola. After a training period at the end of June to create a team, the volunteers started cleaning small areas but will soon extend their activity also to washing off graffiti from walls after more training. 

Objective to reach 150 volunteers 

The project Bologna Si-Cura (a play on words which means Bologna is safe and takes care of itself) is managed by the councilor for urban safety, Alberto Aitini, and welfare, Giuliano Barigazzi, in cooperation with Asp City of Bologna. After this phase, it will extend to include all of the city center, public parks and surroundings involving over 150 volunteers. The volunteers work for free, like Italian citizens participating in the initiative. The project is funded by the city with some 10,000 euros and other resources will be invested through Fami (Fund for asylum, migration, integration) to extend the project and to buy equipment and products.

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