Poor You!

Finally there is humanitarian aid for Europeans! An African NGO brings humaneness to Italy – which given the recent events is in dire need.

Italy has been repeatedly in the news for racism lately. The African workers in Italy – be it in vegetable plantations in Southern Italy or elsewhere – are one of the main targets of the Italian xenophobia.

Hardly any Italians would tell you that the workers coming from the far South are good for the country – even if none of them would like to do the jobs the Africans do. A very contrary view is the following: Antonello Vangano last year published a book with the illustrative title: Gli Africani salveranno L’Italia (The Africans will save Italy). In his book he describes from an economical and historical point of view how it is with the strangers who in Italy voice up against mafia and other criminal organizations, and who Italians have long come to accept.

Italy gets a hand from the Southern neighbours also in another field. The NGO Poveri Voi stands for Poor You and says about itself that they export humaneness – a good which in Italy has become scarce – while it is still abundant in Africa. The people behind Poveri Voi say the project was born as an outcry, an act of provocation with aims to bring attention to a growing problem in Italy: dehumanization. Most outstanding their campaign:Adopt a young Italian. Describing young Italians who desperately need help; kids which have never learned how to smile since they were left in front of TV all their life; young girls dreaming of becoming famous and ready to do anything to make it possible; or young adults which do nothing more than working.

Eventually, the project became much more than that. Today, Poveri Voi combines different efforts of bringing people closer together again; of reinstating values like trust, altruism and courage. The different programmes which are part of the NGO promote cultural events which bring people together, Fair Trade, sustainable development and help street artists to success. Besides, Poveri Voi gives Italians the opportunity to spend time in Africa. From three weeks to three months people are accomodated in a village and with a family and take part in the daily life of the community. An encounter which should help people remember some basic values lost in the European lifestyle. They clearly show how the stay abroad is helping the Italian, not the Africans (which stands in big contrast to the business of helping). We are all poor in some way.

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6 thoughts on “Poor You!

  1. great post Rahel, I actually wanted to suggest you something on this issue in these days… two men from Senegal have been killed in Florence this tuesday by a right-wing extremist(who later shot himself to death) and 3 more are seriously wounded. some newspapers soon started claming that it was just a showdown within the underworld these two street vendors were part, but the truth came out. racism and hate, fueled by constant political propaganda against “the others”, blacks, muslim, the gypsies that are stealing our jobs and raping our girls… just two days before in Turin a Roma camp was set on fire with these excuses. it’s actually a more serious situation than your post depicts… but thank you nonetheless for talking about it

    • Thanks for your comment Adi! I have read all these news you’re talking about and that’s why I had to write something about Italy. You are right, it’s much more serious than it looks like, I’m definitely not trying to treat it lightly but rather to give it another approach. Let’s do our best to change this sad reality.

  2. I didn’t know what was going on in Italy, so thanks for posting this. I wonder what’s up with first world nations and their xenophobia/racism these days…

  3. Hi Raphael,
    as Italian i have to say that you are totally right. The last 25 years of mass media disinformations have created a big flock of sheep interested only in material possession and fashion. The mass media are constantly trasmiting messages of hate, racism and homophobia and the “Berlusconismo” (which in italian means: to act and think with low moral value in the same way as Berlusconi does) is well established in the mind of people. People lives their life as if they were in a battlefield where everybody is against everybody and things are going worse now due to the new government economic measures. A war between poors is on the way in Italy. Italians need to step back to simple values as brotherhood, charity and humanity.They need to awake and understand who’s working for a better Italy and who’s not. To awake people, won’t be an easy task in Italy, where all the information is controlled by One person, where the internet is used only by 50% of the population and the majority of italians dream to have the same money and the same life style as Mr. Berlusconi.
    It won’t be easy but we will!
    Thanks to let me know about the “Poor you” we are in need of initiatives as this one.

    • Hi there,thanks a lot for visiting Kosmos and for your interesting reply. I’ve been living for a couple of months now and then
      in Italy myself and this is also what I observed. There are however also lots and lots of wonderful people in your country, so
      my hopes are high for a better Italy now that at least Berlusconi is gone (well, ok he’s still there…).

      Saluti da Bangkok,
      Rahel

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