Leonart, from "Voci di Confine's" campaign | Credit:  Voci di Confine
Leonart, from "Voci di Confine's" campaign | Credit: Voci di Confine

An online and radio campaign has been launched in Italy, to publicize positive stories about migration. The campaign is aimed at challenging the dominant negative narrative about migration and migrants.

The online and radio campaign "Voci di Confine" ("Voices from the Border") has been launched. The program showcase stories, provide data and highlight best practices aimed at showing that migration provides a significant opportunity for development. There are many stories to be told: from a Peruvian chef using top-notch Italian ingredients to a Puglia parson who chose to subtitle his sermons in order to help migrants hosted in the community to understand them. Then there is a rugby team of young refugees and the 'King of Afro-Latin music' in Rome and the story of Leonart, nicknamed ''Leonart Scissorhands'' due to his "green" creations. 

All of the stories in the line-up are positive ones for "Voci di Confine. La Migrazione è una Bella Storia" (''Voices from the Border. Migration is a Nice Story''), an online and radio campaign launched on April 23 by a nationwide network of organizations and local bodies to challenge the dominant narrative on migration. 

"Voci di Confine" will be presenting its program until May 19. Leonart's story will open the campaign: "You have heard many stories about immigrants, but not this one. Mario was about to close his shop because no one was willing to learn the ancient art of hedge sculpting. But he taught me his passion and now people call me from across Italy to embellish parks and gardens," the boy said. "My name is Leonart, I am from Tirana and now I am an entrepreneur." 

His story is not as unusual as might be assumed: 570,000 Italian companies are managed by migrants, some 9.4 percent of the total number of companies registered in Italy. Of them, 70,000 are limited companies, as shown by data from the IDOS research center displayed on the "Voci di Confine" website. Immigrant workers pay € 9 billion ($11 billion) in social security contributions every year, a contribution that is essential for the Italian pension system. 

Schools involved, events hosted 

The campaign will also include the issue of love and intercultural marriage. Intercultural marriages account for 10 percent of marriages in Italy, with 17,000 to 20,000 weddings between an Italian national and a person with a migration background each year. 

The project will include educational events in schools and spaces for informal education, as well as events featuring diaspora and volunteer associations, NGOs, and individuals. "Voci di Confine" is funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency, with Amref Health Africa as the network leader.

More articles