On Tuesday Turin celebrated la Festa di San Giovanni, a celebration honoring the city’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist. The festivities began on Monday evening with a huge parade through the streets. People dressed in traditional costumes from various historical periods marched in time to the jubilant songs of the accompanying bands.
Later that night, at 11:00 PM, the city set fire to a toro (bull), represented by a tall wooden structure in the center of Piazza Vittorio. Should the bull fall in one direction, it would portend good luck for the city. Should it fall the other way, the city would have bad luck.
The piazza was crammed with people, watching in anticipation at the flames as they raced up to the head of the toro. When the toro finally began to topple, we all cheered—it fell in the right direction. It is confirmed now: my stay in Turin will be a good one. The following night, we enjoyed a spectacular display of fireworks, a show which I must say, rivals that of the Fourth of July celebrations back home in Boston.
One of the aspects of the work that I will focus on this summer for TAMPEP is the ALNIMA Project. The project targets foreign citizens from Morocco, Albania, and Nigeria, who are currently being held in detention centers in the Piedmont region, awaiting deportation. The objective of the project is to improve the livelihoods of those returning to their countries of origin, to ease their economic and social transition, and to reintegrate them in the labor market.
The project in Nigeria has two types of target beneficiaries: female victims of trafficking, awaiting deportation from Italy, and women in Nigeria who are at risk of being trafficked. The women detained at the Corso Brunelleschi detention camp in Turin are particularly vulnerable because they have very few prospects awaiting them in Nigeria.
The same problem that drove most of the women to migrate to Italy —poverty — still confronts them in Nigeria. Compounding the problem are the huge debts they bear from the cost of being trafficked by the madams. Furthermore, as former prostitutes, the women face social stigmatization in their communities and possible rejection from their families.
The ALNIMA Project seeks to provide vocational training and/or micro-credit for the women to start their own businesses. Selection of the participants (victims of trafficking) will take place at the detention centers through interviews by TAMPEP’s Nigerian cultural mediators. Training and business development will take place in Nigeria.
The project is an ambitious one, primarily because a system that tracks the deported women once they arrive in Nigeria does not exist. For the first time, TAMPEP will open its own office in Benin City and a satellite facility in Lagos.
TAMPEP personnel in Nigeria will oversee the program and monitor the progress of the participants as they undergo their vocational training by local partner organizations. Training, depending on the initial level of skills of the participants, will vary in duration and intensity, lasting from two months to six months. Apprenticeships follow the training and last six months.
The micro-credit program will help participants to analyze the market demand for their goods and services, develop business plans for their chosen income generating activity, train the women on micro-credits, and finally provide them with the capital they need to start up their business.
Posted By Julie Lee
Posted Jun 27th, 2003