© InfoMigrants
© InfoMigrants

An online crowdfunding initiative in the Italian cities of Prato and Florence funds tailoring courses for asylum seekers, aiming to foster social inclusion and improve their chances of finding a job.

The project is called "Voglio Fare Il Sarto" [I Want to Be a Tailor] and was organized by the Mondincontro association on behalf of the intercultural company Waxmore.

"I Want to Be a Tailor" is an on-the-job training in fashion, cutting and sewing and began in February 2017. "Our students are named Samba, Youssif, Kajally and Ousman and all are asylum seekers currently hosted in reception centers in Prato, Florence and surrounding province. They were tailors in their home countries, they love their work and they have decided to invest here as well to learn traditional Italian fashion methods," the campaign website says.

Tailoring techniques and workshop

The training will last six months - altogether 800 hours - during which the four men will learn tailoring techniques, participate in workshops to learn Italian and the history of clothing and design, and also engage in cultural exchanges with Italian students.

The project still needs to raise 10,000 euros, which will be used to pay teachers, curate communication and purchase machines and materials. The course will end with an exam to test the participants' theory and practical skills. The four candidates will then be issued a professional diploma in Italian, English, French and Arabic.

Tailoring to enrich knowledge and foster integration

According to Waxmore's Maria Cristina Manca, young men living in reception centers are often in a difficult situation since they have to wait for a long time for a response to their asylum requests. This training aims to use the skills the men have gained in their countries of origin and help them look for better opportunities in Italy or their home countries in Africa. It is also a "chance for cultural exchange and getting to know one another," Manca said, adding that "we do not speak about the past. We speak about the present and future."

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