After opening Mazì on the island of Samos, Still I Rise inaugurates the second educational center for adolescent refugees from the ages of 10 to 17 in Gaziantep, Turkey. The center is called Beraber, which in Turkish means "together.” In September of 2020 it will be transformed into the first international school for refugee children in the world. The project was funded by the Rome Film Festival charity dinner, organized last October by Desirée Colapietro Petrini and Anna Foglietta.
“We have opened the doors and welcomed dozens of children and their families. Syrian children, children who have lost everything: their land, their rights, their future. A parent, in some cases. More often: their childhood. Some of them have fallen victim to child labor. Others have cute faces sprinkled with scars: the legacy of a war from which they have escaped. Yet all of them are bursting with joy. Seeing them happy makes you love life.” explains Nicolò Govoni, President and cofounder of Still I Rise. “It is heartwarming to be there. They showed up fully dressed, wearing the only beautiful clothes they had, and with their shoes full of holes they finally filled the school with laughter that we have cultivated for months as a precious fruit.”
Starting in September, 150 students will have access to the totally free education of the Still I Rise International School. At the end of an educational course of the highest level, lasting 7 years, they will receive an internationally recognized diploma. The school will maintain limited class sizes so that students will be best supported with individualized education guided by skilled teachers. Embracing quality over quantity will allow the individual needs of students to be addressed. The Still I Rise model states that 70% of registered students are to be refugees and 30% disadvantaged local children, who cannot afford high-quality private education.
“There is a big difference compared to the center in Samos, which due to the conditions of the place, is a youth center for informal education that will never be a recognized school. There, children stay maybe a year, and then, within a night they may be transferred. It is very difficult to be able to finish a course of study. In Turkey we take a step forward, there will be continuity. We are also working on the same project in Kenya, where another team is operating in the same way. We plan to open a school in the African country by the end of 2020. We are planning to reach Mexico in 2021 and finally Italy, to bring help to our country too."