Adult Access to Higher Education students from Cornwall College Saltash have completed two weeks work experience in Sicily working with migrant and refugee children and babies in Palermo.
UK based Pointeuropa organised the trip working with a company called Cesie who organised the placements. The refugee centres have been set up by women and are run by the help of volunteers from all over Europe, caring for children mainly from the African continent including Syria, the Ivory Coast, Eritrea and Nigeria.
Student, Amy Addlesee, said: “I am truly grateful for the experience of the two weeks in Palermo and would recommend to anyone in the future. If I could give any advice to new volunteers, then it would be to expect a few culture shocks; to be prepared to get chucked in the deep end and to follow your initiative with the children and any issues that arise. I loved the experience so much and met some amazing people that I am even considering taking my children out with me and returning for a visit soon.”
Fellow student, Hannah Thorne, said: “This has been an amazing experience, which has been both challenging and rewarding and is something I will never forget. I overcame language barriers and gained valuable insight into many different cultures. I would recommend that future volunteers go over with a very open mind and should be prepared to get involved with the everyday routine in the centre, regardless of how difficult it may seem. They should embrace the opportunity to meet and work with such wonderful people.”
Lecturer for Access to Higher Education at Cornwall College Saltash, Norma Barrett, said: “I would like to thank Pointeuropa for giving the six students the invaluable opportunity of working with refugee and migrant children. This has been an excellent experience for all the students and they will all be able to use their experience going forward to university for their chosen careers in teaching, social care and nursing. I look forward to working with Pointeuropa further over the next few months to enable more students to achieve experience in their chosen fields.”