Main content

Italy: The Priest and The Mayor

Migrants in the Calabria region of southern Italy lead starkly different lives. A priest helps the desperate and abandoned, a welcoming mayor means others are luckier.

It’s become much harder for migrants from Asia and Africa to reach Europe via the Greek route, but the numbers of those reaching Italy have not declined. Those rescued at sea are mostly taken to Sicily, and also to Calabria, the toe of Italy. Calabria is one of Italy’s poorest regions, more used to emigration than immigration, and the newcomers lives vary starkly.

Hashi Mohamed meets a priest, Don Roberto Meduri, who in the near-absence of official support in his area has taken it upon himself to help migrants living in desperate conditions in an abandoned factory and in a tent city. He has looked after “thousands”, he says, getting mattresses from a prison, fixing power cuts at the tent city and guiding the refugees through the processes to get their residence permits and health cards.

Less than an hour’s drive away, in the small town of Gioiosa Ionica, things are very different. Here the local mayor, Salvatore Fuda, has volunteered to take 75 asylum seekers as part of a government scheme that pays the town 35 euros per migrant per day to look after them. The money goes to the town, not the migrants. For Fuda this is a win-win situation: the local community gets a significant economic boost, and the migrants get to live in houses rented for them, get job placements and language classes.

(Photo: Notes given to migrants for use in Gioiosa Ionica)

Available now

23 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 Jul 2016 09:06GMT

Broadcasts

  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 01:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 02:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 03:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 04:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 06:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 14:06GMT
  • Thu 14 Jul 2016 21:06GMT
  • Sat 16 Jul 2016 02:32GMT
  • Sat 16 Jul 2016 19:32GMT
  • Sun 17 Jul 2016 09:06GMT

Ocean Stories

Ocean Stories

The people whose home is the seashore and how they're tackling environmental challenges

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

More global stories to download and keep

Podcast