Reversing the Trend: a Psychosocial Intervention on Young Immigrants in Sicily

  • Maria Garro
  • Massimiliano Schirinzi


Intervention projects based on providing support for immigrants can offer a number of benefits with regard to the social inclusion of young immigrants. Therefore, the actions suggested in this proposal may not only create a network between institutions and the private sector capable of supporting the intervention of a host country, but may also help to reduce the risk of crime as well as advocating a sense of otherness and integration. The approach to the project, a psychosocial intervention carried out on four young Africans who reached Sicily after crossing the Sicilian Channel on a dilapidated boat, has chiefly been to provide the four individuals with the chance to revisit their original, harrowing voyage, thus allowing them to view the voyage not only as a source of pain and death but also as a source of well-being and mutual understanding. Positive outcomes from the intervention include the satisfaction of the participants and a greater sensitivity towards each other, an awareness of the importance of rules, free time monitoring through utterances, and finally, photographic images for the resulting awareness raising event. The intervention, the only one carried out in Sicilian territory, culminated in the organization of a social visibility day, an event designed to advocate the involvement of local communities and young people. Further, the public event also aimed to raise awareness among the host community to the needs of immigrants, while contributing to discussion on hostile attitudes and closure towards immigrants.


Immigration Inclusion Sea Sailboat Sicily 



The authors would like to thank the four participants (Ayeva Rayan, Camara Dembo, Ceesay Lassana, and Ceesay Lamin) for the trust and the enthusiasm shown while sharing their life stories and expressing their dreams during their stay in Italy; Antonina Grillo, legal representative without whom this experience would not have been possible; Associazione Terraferma Onlus - Salemi (Tp); Cristina Lombardi, Chairman Associazione Il Sorgitore no profit - Lugano - ( for their availability and active participation. The authors would also like to thank Giovanni Golino, invaluable in providing emotional and instrumental support. Special thanks are due to prof. G. Lavanco for having believed in the project.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly

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