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EU Prize: Italian family wins European Citizen's award for migrants hosting model

13 Jul 2018 euronews

"It’s very hard for us to silence our inner consciousness; it’s both a civil and religious consciousness," said Antonio Calò. "One day on April the 18th 2015, when many migrants died at sea, we felt powerless and we heard this scream coming from inside: We have to do something," he added. Proud hosts whose actions have set an example for others: Antonio Calò and his wife Nicoletta FerraraAntonio's wife, Nicoletta Ferrara, said the early days with the migrants were full of emotions. "Our first dinners were full of emotions. The boys were so happy to be welcomed by a family - by a mother and a father - they immediately started to call us this way," she said. Treviso in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy is one of the top regions for foreigners living in the areaDespite Veneto being one of the top regions for the numbers of foreigners living in the area, with about 90,000 in Treviso, it is very hard to find facilities that welcome migrants. And usually social integration is difficult, largely due to political choices. IMMIGRATION THE SUBJECT OF PREJUDICESLocal politician and mayor Giovanni Manildo explained that immigration-related issues are often the subject of prejudices. "Too many times immigration-related issues have been handled with prejudices. I think that the only way to manage them is for every single part to play its role. Whether it’s at a European level, a national one or at a local one, meaning municipalities regardless of their political views,” he said.In Veneto, the Calò model has to not only faced critics from the local community, but also those who think differently, especially from within the anti-immigration Northern League party. It’s the first party there, according to the latest general election results. Recently, Treviso elected a League party mayor. "Here we have terrible examples: crowded dormitories. Somebody uses this as a form of business. Municipalities already have their problems to take care of, we cannot ask them to deal with issues that create inequalities between citizens,” said Roberto Ciambetti, a local politician who is member of Liga Veneta–Lega Nord and President of the Regional Council of Veneto. MIGRANTS A RESOURCEAccording to Don Bruno Baratto, the director of the Migrantes project and president of the Giavera Festival, an annual event aimed at helping the dialogue between people, migrants are a resource, especially when the territory is suffering a demographic crisis. " Here in Treviso there are about 90,000 foreign citizens. We are wondering why we don’t talk about them, but rather about the 2,000 migrants who are welcomed temporarily, waiting for their asylum requests," Don Baratto told Euronews The European Citizen’s prize award ceremony for Italy will take place in Florence in September.

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