Akela Lacy is a senior at William & Mary with a major in Sociology and a minor in Italian. She is interested in international journalism with a focus on human rights, and has written for William & Mary's Dog Street Journal as well as the Washington, D.C. foreign affairs magazine the Diplomatic Courier. She studied abroad in Perugia, Italy during the fall semester of her junior year, where she became aware of some of the social justice and human rights challenges facing African and Middle Eastern migrants in the country. Her interest in this issue brought her back to Turin, Italy to talk to refugees and migrants about their experiences, struggles and hopes for the future. At the College Akela has worked as a Policy & Communications intern at AidData, is an active member of the Pi Beta Phi Virginia Gamma chapter, and enjoys running and yoga.
Italy: The Future of Migrants and Refugees
Mohammad S. wakes up at 3 or 4 in the morning and takes the local bus about an hour away to his landscaping job. He asks that his full name not be used in order to protect his identity. He has only been in Italy for three years, and the documents allowing him to work legally will expire within the month. He has come to Mosaico, an organization run by refugees to help newcomers in Italy, for advice regarding his permit to work. He explains in a defeated voice that “Sudan was better…even with war.”
One of an imploding number of refugees arriving on Italy’s shores since 2011, Mohammad S. worries daily about his future. He fled his home country of Sudan to find work in Libya, forced by the Libyan military to come to Italy after war broke out in 2011. He slept on the streets before finding temporary shelter. “Tanto volte non dormo mai”—“Many nights I don’t sleep at all.” Why? “Too many thoughts.” Where he hopes to be in a month? “Spero di essere morto. Quando state qua non c’è futuro.”—“I hope to be dead. When you are here there is no future.”
Read the rest of Akela's article here.