Modena, 3 December 2020- At 1.9 billion people, we are currently living in the largest youth generation in history, and roughly one third of international migrants are under the age of 30. It is with this fact in mind that the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) established the Migration Youth Forum, in partnership with IOM and UNICEF - to ensure that young innovators become part of global discussion at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
Since 2007 the GFMD has brought together actors from local and national government, civil society, and the private sector to shape the conversation on migration. After representation in Marrakech and Quito, 2021 will mark the third year that Youth will be sitting (this year in a virtual setting) together with governments, mayors, business leaders, and civil society to discuss common migration policy priorities and actions.
Out of 1000 applicants 70 young people under the age of 31 were selected, among them migrants and refugees, representatives of NGO’s researchers, activists, and more. Additionally, for the first year the UNMGCY launched an additional recognition, the Leadership and Innovation Award for Migration for 9 candidates whose model showed promise for innovation and replication.
Among this group of young people is Caroline Caporossi, a 27-year old Italian-American based in Modena since 2017. In her role at the forum, Caporossi will represent the Association for the Integration of Women (AIW), an association of social promotion that she founded in April 2020. Caroline will represent the AIW as one of three prize finalists in the category of ‘’Skilling Migrants for Employment and Income Generation.’’
Since its ideation in 2019, the AIW has quickly distinguished itself as an innovative solution to a critical problem - that migrant women between the ages of 25-35 are considered the most disadvantaged group to socially and economically integrate… A fact that is easily apparent to Social Services of Modena who reflect:
''Migrant women who turn to social services come from complex family situations and bring its signs, they have often had little freedom in their lives or have overcomes various forms of violence ... they are women who often are unable to see their value, capacity, and resources.''
Caporossi has her own immigration story. Great-grandparents who emigrated from Calabria to New York in the early 1900’s, her family established their roots and showcased their skills to their new neighbors through food - opening Italian restaurants. Her personal story led her to study International Relations and Spanish, and she started her career in Washington D.C. (USA) working to provide legal services to undocumented Latino women survivors of violence.
In October 2019, Caporossi was on a mission to learn more about the circumstances of migrant women in Modena. At the time, she was working for Food for Soul ONLUS, founded by Chef Massimo Bottura, helping to design and develop new projects. She met Fabiana Soliani, a social worker of the Comune of Modena, who happen to have a similar mission- running group workshops with Nigerian women with the goal of understanding better the community and ultimately, increasing access for this community to become stakeholders of society.
Now established, the Association works in partnership with the Comune of Modena, specifically the offices of Equal Opportunity and Social Services and other local organizations including Caritas Modenese to host uniquely developed programs that give migrant women a platform to showcase their skills and get connected with work opportunity. In the peak of the first quarantine, the AIW quickly launched its first campaign, called ‘’Cucire Insieme,’’ which employed women who were seamstresses in their home countries to sew cotton face masks. In September, the AIW launched its second program, a culinary training curriculum, developed by the Canadian female Chef at the head of Massimo Bottura’s Casa Maria Luigia, Jessica Rosval.
Now working mostly from home, the Association continues to develop projects and partnerships. The newest project that we can expect to see in 2021? Roots, a unique restaurant-concept that will celebrate the essence of integration - both for newcomers to Modena and locals- all through food. Among the supporters of the Roots project include the Comune of Modena who has dedicated a space to the project.
To inquire about how you can get involved with AIW and our upcoming projects email firstname.lastname@example.org