Bridging Worlds: A Collaborative Initiative for Youth, Libraries, and Inclusive Communities

Creating social cohesion among diverse communities.

The Local Challenge

La Fenice ASD has been part of the educational and social life of Tortona for the past 11 years. They provide after-school activities, training, cultural exchanges and non-formal education, as well as co-managing the local youth centre, which is located on the same street as the library. These two institutions are coming together to help local diverse communities from non-traditional Italian backgrounds to feel more embedded locally. They are encouraging local cultural and social cohesion, while celebrating different identities,working with the Association DorDePlai, the GambiAL association and local Sikh and Muslim community groups. 


 The Initiative 

Through creating a buddy programme within the Romanian, Albanian and Moroccan local communities – they are pairing junior school-aged children with secondary school age youth – where the “big buddy” offers support to the “little buddies” both at school and on a personal level. The “big buddies” have mentorship training provided by La Fenice, with the library providing the materials, additional volunteers and space. There are also “focus culture” meetings, where people of all backgrounds can explore different cultural experiences through film, cooking, crafts and music, at the library.  


What’s Next?

This exchange is helping non-Italian residents to feel more connected locally, to connect with their cultural roots, develop a sense of belonging, and navigate daily challenges. The project partners hope this initiative will encourage proactive changemakers in Tortona,  and that their one-year plan is a stepping stone towards achieving a more cohesive and inclusive community. 


This is an ongoing Europe Challenge project that will be completed in autumn 2024. Stay tuned for more updates and contact if you have any questions or want to be connected with the team behind the project.

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