Urban gardens in Rome. Credit: ANSA/CITY OF ROME PRESS OFFICE
Urban gardens in Rome. Credit: ANSA/CITY OF ROME PRESS OFFICE

Laura Baldassarre, Rome's social councilor, highlighted the importance of the project "Intergenerational and Inclusive Urban Gardens" as a way to facilitate migrant training and integration in the Italian capital.

Rome's social councilor Laura Baldassarre highlighted the importance of a new project titled "Intergenerational and Inclusive Urban Gardens" in a post on her Facebook page. She said the project was developed by a "broad network of associations and organizations working in the field of migrant reception." The project is based on "building a citizen network of supportiveness through volunteering, promoting inclusion, facilitating dialogue between cultures and between generations." 

The project began in May 2018 and ends in December. "It is made up of a training experience, both theoretical and practical, on the myriad activities in horticulture and landscaping maintenance," she said. Training in farming activities Baldassarre said that through participation in the initiative, the migrants "accepted the idea of a theoretical and practical training period regarding farming and urban landscaping, by working alongside elderly people of our city." 

"This choice triggers a process of knowledge transmission and interaction between different generations, aimed at developing bridges and connections towards an overall goal of facilitating inclusion. The elderly people, who hold a broad and deep heritage of knowledge, represent those who are most suitable for accompanying migrants towards the discovery of new experiences with a progressive and conscious approach," she said. 

Social cohesion and inclusion with gardens 

In recent days Baldassarre visited the Lirio d'Oro, a nursery school near the Fiera di Roma convention center that hosts 70 children from the Portuense and Ponte Galeria districts. Located in an old farmhouse that has kept its original structure, the nursery school is situated on a green expanse of 3,000 square meters. 

"In the educational garden at the nursery school one of the projects is being created in collaboration with the young migrants, giving them the chance to become volunteers at the garden," Baldassarre said. "About 10 young men, including asylum seekers or refugees from Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, and Cameroon who are currently being hosted at reception centers in Rome and the province, are working each week to help the elderly people, interacting with the teachers and the children of the nursery school. 

Through the active participation of the asylum seekers, we are also affecting citizens' perception. Social cohesion and inclusion are the pillars of the inclusive community that we are building to fight every form of racism and discrimination," she said.

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