Our collaborative work in Italy

Working to understand modern slavery in the Italian context, raise awareness and support migrants and refugees as they settle in Italy.

In 2020 alone, there were an estimated 20.7 million people classed as refugees globally. Italy is the arrival country for the majority of refugees who reach Europe. When refugees arrive in Italy, they often do so without networks, money, accommodation, and sometimes documents. They are extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

Our work focusses on understanding modern slavery in the Italian context, raising awareness and beginning to support migrants and refugees as they settle in Italy.

To date, The Clewer Initiative has developed a range of programmes in collaboration with the Diocese in Europe and Mediterranean Hope – a project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy.

Hidden Voices Italy

Hidden Voices is The Clewer Initiative’s core piece of training, and a key part of the Clewer Journey. Hidden Voices is based on a community resilience approach, which equips participants with the knowledge to understand modern slavery and exploitation; identify and support victims and apply this knowledge to a specific context. It also encourages participants to form action groups and put plans in place to tackle modern slavery in their context. Working with the Diocese in Europe, The Clewer Initiative has rewritten and translated the training package for an Italian context, reflecting the unique challenges of modern slavery and exploitation in Italy.

Hear My Voice: The healing power of art

‘Hear My Voice’ is an art exhibition, consisting of art by dozens of migrants and coordinated by Mediterranean Hope as part of its refugee and migrant programme.

An experienced community resilience expert and artist worked together with a therapist with young migrants across 13 workshops, in three different locations in Sicily and Calabria. The migrants came from Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sudan, Gambia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, reflecting the complex network of issues that drive migration to Italy and beyond. The workshops were also attended by local Italian children which contributed to the important process of integration and learning together.

Working on the art project helped migrants and refugees express their feelings, their experience of suffering and their hopes for a better future. It allowed them to mourn, reconnect, and integrate into a new life in a new place.

The resulting artwork has been turned into an exhibition, consisting of four installations: Safe Space, The Fence, Oranges for Justice, and The Kites. The exhibition, which will be co-hosted by The Clewer Initiative and Mediterranean Hope, will tour churches in Italy and other European countries before coming to the U.K., where it will be displayed in a variety of locations, including some cathedrals.

Hear My Voice workshop in Scicli, Sicily

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People can find out more by contacting us.

Following the success of the art project, there are developing plans to design a training package based on the learnings, with a focus on art as a therapeutic and community building tool for vulnerable people, including those who have been victims of modern slavery and exploitation.

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