Young asylum-seekers and refugees from the local reception centres and the surrounding territory have been enabled by "Scuolina di Poggio alla Croce" to continue to receive Italian lessons despite the restrictions caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.
What had previously taken place personally in classes was moved by Corona to a virtual space, using the free platform Jitsi Meet and applying the Penny Wirton method (individual tuition).
Thanks to the contribution of the Bridges project, the "Little School" was equipped with computers to strengthen the tools of the teachers who work digitally with the students day after day. These computers will later remain as a donation to the "Little School" once the live lessons are resumed, and will provide basic support for the further process.
The volunteer Italian teachers were first confronted with the challenge of working online by dealing with the use of the Internet on online platforms. The aim was to discover ways to effectively relate and work with each other while maintaining social distance, so that this distance remains physical rather than social.
For example, during the weeks of isolation and distance, Ramadan took place. This shaped and influenced the lives of many students of the Small School for a whole month. The lessons thus became a moment of deeper reflection that went beyond the mere teaching and learning of the Italian language and instead used the language to exchange impressions about the special moment in the time in which these people lived.
''There are many moments during the day when you have to stop what you are doing and pray. 15 hours a day you don't eat or drink," says Yacouba, a Malian student of Katherine's, "and there are many moments during the day when you have to stop what you are doing and pray."
Boukhadry from Senegal, on the other hand, tells us about the Muslim pro-app that he uses to help himself read or listen to the Koran and organize his time around prayers. Mamadou instead teaches Sarah how to wish Sarah a happy Ramadan in his language: ''Ramadan Mubarak''.
During the Italian lessons, life experiences and daily struggles that teachers and students face every day are combined. The lessons thus serve as an additional tool to find a job or to obtain social assistance and economic subsidies, while at the same time learning Italian language terms to better understand the Italian bureaucracy.
These lessons also bring to light common passions and interests, as Katherine explained, referring to her lessons with Yacouba: "I have discovered that he too enjoys walking for half an hour every day. He also loves chicken and rice as I do. Perhaps what we have most in common is the passion for travel, fuelled by the ambition to discover new places and make new experiences that help us grow as people".
On his long journey to Italy, which began 7 years ago, Yacouba lived in a variety of African countries, including Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. In many of these countries he stopped for several months to work, in others he just came by instead.
In this and other ways, the teaching continues and has made it possible to cultivate a sense of community and closeness even during the forced quarantine. This is due to the fact that the Small School is not only an Italian school, but also a space for the exchange of ideas, opinions and knowledge: the beginning of meetings and the construction of BRIDGES!