“Understanding is key!”

Marrie S. talks about what education means to him and how Palermo has become his home through the people who supported him.

Marrie S., Palermo 2019 © Minor

“We too have a task. In the meantime, while we live in the reception centres, we should strengthen ourselves and go to school. There are people who do nothing but eat and sleep. It is true that there are conditions that drive you to do nothing. We all need someone, someone to encourage us to do things here. The first thing you can do is to strive for language, without language you cannot communicate. I don’t think school is the only way to learn Italian. You can also get a job, learn a trade. I also worked in agriculture and learned Italian there.

Since I arrived in Italy, I have lived in Palermo. I can say that Palermo is my city. When I arrived, I was in Asanti, Casa Marconi. I was there for eight months. For three months, I didn’t go to school. We went to Salone and then I went to school there. After that I had neither school nor work. I did not go to school again for five months. I thought about how this place could speak to me. When I talk to Italians, they help me, but how can I do the same? To understand is the most important thing. I understood that I must go to school. I went there again for eight months and finished my terza media. 11Terza media is the Italian term for the third class of secondary school, which qualifies for higher education or trade school. Then they took me to Centro Astalli and thanks to them I could go to another school and finish my second year there.

Palermo is a good city for me because since I came here I have learned many things. I have found good friends. It is my home town. Even where you are at home, you can have problems. Maybe there used to be few Africans here […] But the city has changed. Now there are many Italians here with Africans.”


  • 1Terza media is the Italian term for the third class of secondary school, which qualifies for higher education or trade school.

Marrie S. comes from Gambia and has been in Palermo since 2016. With the support of organizations such as Centro Astalli, he has started going to school.

Marrie S. told the participants of the Giocherenda Workshop about his experiences in Palermo. He stresses that education is very important to him – mastering the Italien language as well as attening school. Marrie graduated from secondary school (terza media), which qualifies him for higher education. He has found friends in Palermo. In spite of discrimination he has experienced in Italy, Marrie speaks of Palermo as his home.