Sicily, Italy's gateway, accounts for 62% of the country's exile arrivals, even though it has an unemployment rate of nearly 60% among young people. With the Dublin agreements, the re-establishment of border controls and the end of the relocation program, thousands of exiles were stuck in Italy. Despite the government's firm and populist line, Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo, tirelessly advocated for solidarity.

Integrating young migrants in Palermo

In 2018, Libraries Without Borders set up an Ideas Box in Sicily in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the mayor of Palermo in order to work with different local groups to promote the settlement of young exiles. The digital tools, board games, and books selected from the Ideas Box were particularly useful in helping them to learn Italian and find employment. Every day, the Ideas Box brings together around thirty young migrants, primarily from Guinea, Gambia, and Burkina Faso— and the projects are growing: they include a workshop on the representation of migrants in the European press, the production of a short film, and a tourist map of Palermo. Run by a team from the organization Booq, trained by Libraries Without Borders, the Ideas Box is situated in the rehabilitated brownfield site Cantieri Culturali della Ziza, where the Institut Français, the Goethe Institute, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the city’s only public cinema are also located.