While Italy is known for its delicious food, fine leather, luxurious fashion, and historical wonders, the country struggles with organized crime and a large economic gap between the wealthy population in the north and those who have less resources in the south. However, it is still a dream destination and entry point for many African people who escape political instability and lack of basic resources and opportunities at home. Increased volatility in many African countries is causing the number of people coming to Italy to rise, resulting in conflict between refugees and the local communities.
Play for Peace was introduced to Federica Lazzarine, the founder of the Wonderland Association from Genoa, Italy, by Olimpia Theodoli. Olimpia is the founder of Crete for Life and had worked with Play for Peace youth volunteers from the Skaramangas refugee camp in Greece. Wonderland supports African refugees on their path to integrate into Italian society. Many young refugees in the camps don't learn the local language or interact with people in their new communities. When a Play for Peace workshop was held in Genoa with these refugees in Spring 2017, the methodology was well received by participants and served as a first step towards connecting with each other and their new environment. Soon the Play for Peace Maza club was founded.
Federica has been conducting Play for Peace sessions regularly and recently received a grant to introduce Play for Peace to immigrant communities in five other Italian cities.
"Although we have all grown up in very different worlds, during the games we all become the same. Play for Peace games can seem very simple at first glance, because they require only basic skills. On the contrary, it is really an effective tool that allows the collaboration between the players. Participants shared with me how valuable that experience was for them."
Director, Wonderland Association
As Olympia Theodoli, founder of Crete for Life, and certified trainers Swati Bhatt and Agyat Mitra planned their trip to mentor AMAL Play for Peace Club youth, one more question came to mind: “What else can we do?” Olimpia got an idea to connect…