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The Italian Town That Loves Immigrants

23 Mar 2015 by admin in News, World

Welcome To Riace: Why an Italian ghost-town has decided to open it’s doors to illegal immigrants

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Over 60,000 migrants have landed in Italy over the past 12 months. Whilst they are being shunned by many, one small town in the backwaters of Southern Italy is welcoming them with open arms.

In the sleepy town of Riace, immigrants make up a quarter of the population. Mayor Domenico Lucano’s believes that helping them will help save his town’s future. Fatima Abaldi, an immigrant who works in one of the mayor’s workshops explains: “I don’t feel like a stranger or a foreigner, because these people are very kind and polite”. The re-population of Riace is solving the problem of derelict housing, and many feel it gives the town a new lease of life. But in a village with little tourism, keeping business going is a struggle. “After one year, if you have no work, you’re out. Where do you go?” asks refugee Mohamad Wazir. Despite the limitations of the scheme, the mayor remains full of hope: “They bring hope for a better life. That’s the strongest incentive for me, the beauty of knowing new worlds.”

SBS Dateline – Ref 6411

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