'Europe Begins at Lampedusa’ - Dialogues with citizens, students and institutions
The project in brief
Comitato 3 Ottobre
2014 - ongoing
Since 2014, the ‘Day of Remembrance and Reception’ is organised in cooperation with the Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa. The project started in September 2015 and is still ongoing.
Comitato 3 Ottobre is a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness on integration and reception of migrants through dialogue with citizens, students and institutions. On October 3rd 2013, about 368 migrants died in a shipwreck off the coast of the island of Lampedusa. After this tragic event, October 3rd was established as a symbolic date - not only to commemorate the victims of that shipwreck, but also to remember the thousands of people who ordinarily drown in the Mediterranean Sea or are rejected at the Eastern borders of Europe.
We build memory and integration through educational projects on migration. We organize a series of activities aimed at informing and raising awareness and fostering equal rights and opportunities for those who seek asylum in Italy. Over the years, we have proposed educational activities in schools both in Italy and in other EU countries. We create opportunities for students and migrants to connect and understand one another’s experiences. Every year, we bring the survivors’ testimonies in the schools of Lampedusa – a symbolic place for migrations in Italy. We operate in the belief that educating and raising awareness on the issues of migration can be a first step in trying to change the course of the current European policies.
Since 2014, the project In Lampedusa has involved more than 800 students from 150 schools and 13 EU countries. During the days before the remembrance ceremony, students from Italy and Europe gather in Lampedusa to participate in seminars, workshops, concerts and documentary screenings on topics related to racism, migration and asylum.
Since September 2015, the project has involved migrants, refugees, survivors of the disasters at sea and more than 30,000 students from 150 schools and from 13 EU countries. The project is supported by prominent associations, including Amnesty International, the National Association of Civil Victims of War, the Association Carta di Roma, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta, the Legambiente Circle Lampedusa Esther Ada, Doctors without Borders, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UndeRadio (Save the Children) and UNHCR. In the 2017 edition, the Comitato established a partnership with Rai (Italian national public broadcasting company) that dedicated a special episode to the ‘Day of Remembrance and Reception’ including documentaries, research programmes, films and shows. Moreover, each Rai news broadcasting news channel – national and regional newscast - dedicate an annual slot to the ‘Europe Begins at Lampedusa’ project and a wide media coverage to the remembrance of the anniversary of October 3rd 2013.
VIDEO: L’Europa inizia a Lampedusa
- To actively support and train young students from the European Union through educational workshops, documentary screenings, debates, seminars and meetings with migrants, field actors and first-hand witnesses;
- To build a European network of schools active on the themes of migration, migrants’ reception and the fight against discrimination;
- To give students the chance to participate at the ‘Day of Remembrance and Reception’ in Lampedusa.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Comitato 3 ottobre provides education and training in schools across Italy and several other EU Countries, by fostering conversations between students and migrants throughout the years. It spreads the voices and stories of those who survived the journey to seek asylum across schools, and each year we gather groups of students in Lampedusa.
The 4 days long initiative takes please at Lampedusa and aims at enhancing awareness about migration, human rights, cultural integration and reception among the young generation.
- Italy’s Ministry of Education
- Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa
- Amnesty International
- National Association of Civil Victims of War
- Association Carta di Roma
- Jesuit Refugee Service
- Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta
- Legambiente Circle Lampedusa Esther Ada
- Doctors without Borders
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- UndeRadio (Save the Children)
Challenges and how they were overcome
Between 2016 and 2017 the activity has been carried out with funding from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), and saw the participation of 80 schools in 13 countries, with over 16,000 students reached.
In 2018 the activity continued with private donations and funding from Italian and international organizations despite not receiving any governmental funding, and saw the participation of 12 Italian and 1 French secondary schools.
In 2019 the activity was carried out again with funding from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
As in the past 4 years, survivors of the 3rd October 2013 shipwreck and family members of the victims arriving from the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Germany participate to the ceremony in remembrance of the 2013/2014 shipwrecks.
Considering the gradually worsening public perception towards migrants and refugees, and the concerns for the rising trends of xenophobia and racist attacks, Comitato 3 Ottobre believes that more than ever before, it is important to support the Remembrance Day but continues to struggle to find solid and stable sources of funding.
Results of the Good Practice
On March 16th 2016, the Italian Senate approved the Comitato’s proposal to establish the ‘Day of Remembrance and Reception’, aimed at creating a historical memory and a culture of information and reception. The ‘Day of Remembrance and Reception’ is celebrated each year on October 3rd; it involves several municipalities, local communities and schools throughout the country. Remembrance and awareness-raising activities include the direct participation of refugees, survivors and relatives of the victims from the shipwreck of October 3rd 2013, as well as from other tragedies that happened at sea.
Since 2014, the project has involved more than 800 students from 150 schools and 13 EU countries.
Tareke Brhane, President, Comitato 3 Ottobre