Veronika, ACT volunteer in Palermo, Italy

24 years old from Brussels, Belgium


“Without any doubt, my experience in Palermo made me richer. All the people I had the chance to meet and all the things I’ve learnt about the world have made me a better person. I am glad I had this opportunity and I am grateful to all the people who have made it possible”


In the last few years we’ve been hearing about the refugee crisis in Greece and Italy, about the flow of migrants crossing the sea to reach Europe. This phenomenon is usually presented as a threat for Europe by the media, the main source of information we have in our daily life, that has a deep influence on people’s opinions. Media are a very dangerous tool for it controls the way most of the people see the world. Instead of highlighting human values, touching the human side of people and principles such as the acceptance of others and solidarity, media spread panic and a feeling of self-protection from the “others”, the “invaders”. The truth is that those people, who are fleeing from their countries, are all searching a chance for a better life, for an easier and safer one, that is what each person is in total right to pursue.  To really understand this phenomenon, I think we should live it. It’d be important to meet, to listen and to try to understand migrants. They’re just humans, the issue is just about being connected with them through our human side.

Thanks to ACT project I have the opportunity to see and live it through my own experience. Now I can tell for sure that it’s the best way to learn and understand the phenomenon of migration. I know by now a lot of what hides behind the reception of migrants. There are people who really want to help them, but sadly there is also too much corruption and business built on this topic. In lots of cases migrants are living in unhealthy conditions in the reception centers and the procedure to get the documents takes much more time than it should in theory. Besides, while they are living in unhealthy conditions and are constantly waiting for their papers, they are excluded by society. They don’t have real chances to be integrated and to start a normal and healthy life. They are rejected for very long periods of time and are not treated equally.

I had the chance to get know better some young migrants arrived in Palermo. Listening to their stories has really touched my heart. When I think we are nearly the same age, but I have the chance to study, to enjoy the freedom to travel and to have many different experiences, while they are telling me about how much they’d like to study and travel or just feel free to make their own decisions about their life, I feel a sense of inequality and powerlessness and I just realize how lucky we are.

It scares me, know how far we are from reaching equality conditions. We still have a very long way to go, before starting see how the things change around us. So, I really hope that more and more people will understand the importance of active participation and will try to do something around them, to awake more and more our human side, and make things going forwards. I’ll keep searching for experiences such like this, that I warmly recommend to everybody! Staying always active and being curious about what is going on beyond our daily life, out of our comfort zone: that’s the only way to grow.

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