From file: Harvest workers in the vineyards in Montalcino, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE / ANSA
From file: Harvest workers in the vineyards in Montalcino, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE / ANSA

Twenty-four migrants who have applied for asylum or have international protection in Italy will participate in a training near Siena (Tuscany) to learn how to harvest grapes and olives in the land of the Brunello wine.

Twenty-four young asylum seekers and migrants with international protection will learn one of the oldest and most precious trades -- harvesting -- in the world-renowned land of the Brunello red wine, Montalcino, in southern Tuscany.

The project was activated on May 6 at a local company and has the objective of providing professional training to migrants, helping them find jobs in the agricultural sector and developing their knowledge in the harvesting of grapes and olives.

The six-month-long, EU-funded project is called Icare (Integration and community care for asylum and refugees in emergency) and it is coordinated by social agricultural cooperative San Francesco, which is based in Siena.

Guaranteeing the health of migrants

The 24 people taking part in the project hail from nine countries: Togo, Mali, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Benin, Gambia.

One of the initiative's objectives is to "support the psychological and physical health of the person through professional training, guaranteeing practical and theoretical knowledge that can be used on the territory to find a stable job", said in a statement the local health authority ASL in south-east Tuscany, which is in charge of implementing the project.

"The first objective is to guarantee the health of migrants in the wider sense of the world, as psychological and physical well-being," said Lia Simonetti, the director of social services of the local ASL.

"In this framework, we tied physical health to actions aimed at improving mental, psychological health ad at avoiding isolation, choosing activities of training to help them find a job. European funding supported the project," Simonetti went on to say, adding that a company and a cooperative provided professional support.

"The objective is to favor an approach to the labor market with all the guarantees of training and security", she noted.

Work for effective integration

Nicola Perice, president of the cooperative San Francesco, said "employment is the first step to favor a process of real integration."

"Our objective is to raise the quality of training of these people so they can become autonomous for companies that always need well-prepared workers. Thanks to the foresight of the region and ASL Tuscany south-east, we have realized this project to help these youths," said Perice.

The company taking part in this project is in Casale del Bosco, in the area of Montalcino. The firm's owner, Emilia Nardi, explained this choice: "It is an initiative that reflects our family's DNA. Work is fundamental for each one of us and I think this is an important opportunity for the training and integration of these people."


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