“Refugee Light” inspired me: Mustapha’s experience
Very often life throws us an experience that will guide us in the choices of our future. This happened to me through a project trip for the first time in France to take part of a project called "Refugee Light" CESIE was the sending organization from Italy.
Before leaving, I met people who have been in France to ask them some advices; I was very excited, but at the same time I was also nervous, not knowing what would have happened to me there. Besides, I was even worried about the weather; for us Africans the cold is not our friend! I had been told that the cold in France is not like that one here in Sicily, and hearing this I bought myself a warm jacket.
The day before I left, I packed my baggage without forgetting anything and that night I was unable to sleep because of anxiety, especially I had to take a bus at 4am in order to arrive on time at the airport.
The project was about the study of refugees from all over the world and the linked migratory phenomena, more specifically the Palestinian ones. The Palestinian situation is an almost hidden thing for us Africans, we know little about it, as they know little about African migration. Therefore, I think my attendance to this project has been an added value to understand from both sides, Palestinians and Europeans.
The participants to the project were from different countries such as France, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Palestine. I would like to share my experience because it has made me grow mentally, it has expanded my knowledge, it gave me the opportunity to meet many new people and this inspired me a lot, it made me believe that every young person has a very important role to play in his/her community. Very often, young people are scared to go away, and it is normal to have fear, but no one should be guided by fear, because it is good when you are young to make a lot of experience, falling and learning from it. As an advice I tell youngsters as me to follow a path full of experiences, because that will be the thing you will never forget, that will be the thing that will enrich you to find the true path of your life, that will be the thing you will tell your children.
I approached the cultures of other people from across the world and I had the opportunity to share my culture and myself with them. It was like I filled up my mental-luggage with their cultures, we had a dinner where each country had to present a typical food of its country explaining how and when they eat those meals.
I want to share my experience and spread the word because I feel it as a duty, because if we do not share these things they become not useful. The youth exchange projects can be a chance to even learn or improve a foreigner language (being in France I was constantly speaking French!)
Coming back to Palermo my first thought was it would be great to organize something similar here, and I thought by myself that I could involve other people! I can’t wait to participate these types of projects again, I was really inspired by this opportunity, and I invite everyone to take advance from it.
At least but not less important I want to thank the CESIE for giving me this possibility.
Youth Exchange participant within the project “Refugee Light”
Read other experiences!
“I recommend everyone to have a volunteer experience because it is important to help others, because we don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow, and the good we give today will come back to us in the future.” Dawda talks about his experience at CESIE.
“Thanks to the project, I learned new words in Italian, but also how to manage my time, how to work with new people and other transversal skills such as teamwork, creativity and respect for everyone.” Junior shares his experience as an ESC volunteer.
“I am very happy with my experience because I have had the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.” Read more about Hassan’s ESC experience.