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Testimony of Sr. Charity Katongo Nkandu (Representative of IFC-TOR for Franciscans International - FI) on October 3rd, the Italian National Day of Remembrance and Reception, in memory of all victims of migration
Ten years since the tragic Lampedusa shipwreck in which 368 migrants, trying to reach Europe aboard a Libyan boat, lost their lives at sea.
Sr. Charity (FI): "Thanks to my experience of living and working as part of an inter-congregational community welcoming migrants in Caltanissetta, Sicily, this year I was invited to commemorations in Lampedusa as a spokesperson for the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).
While in Lampedusa, I was happy to take part in a panel discussion reflecting on what has changed, or not changed, in the past ten years for migrants arriving in Italy.
I also gave several interviews on the issues of migration and integration: I was interested to note that many journalists asked why the presence of religious communities is important in welcoming migrants, and I realized this is something that religious women understand, but perhaps don’t talk about enough.
Our main purpose, I believe, is to act as a bridge between immigrants and local people. I have experienced first-hand the negative attitudes and prejudices that many local communities hold until a trusted third party – often a sister or other religious figure – can gain their confidence and reassure them that immigration is an opportunity, not a risk."