“In the house where the smugglers had me locked, they make you hate yourself and hate life. The suffering is so much that you wish to die. You cannot free yourself. Before leaving, I knew that crossing Libya was dangerous, that there were human traffickers. I knew that they were ignorant, but I did not imagine that violence could be so absolute.”
Max is 15 years old and comes from Ghana. We met him at an emergency shelter in Syracuse, in the Italian island of Sicily. Like the other minors at the center, Max arrived at the Italian coast without a family.
Unfortunately, Italy has 12,629 registered unaccompanied migrant minors. These adolescents all come from difficult contexts, such as war conflict areas. For most of them, violence has continued throughout their journey to Europe.
Like his fellow residents at the reception center, Max suffered from hypervigilance (a heightened state of sensory sensitivity), hyper-arousal (a state of increased psychological and physiological tension), anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and irritability. Fortunately, thanks to the support of Terre des Hommes (TdH) and Fondation d’Harcourt, Max was able to receive individual therapy with a psychologist and was included in the social recreational activities offered at the center.
This has helped him face his difficult situation in a more positive way and has improved his relationships with other minors and staff.
At Fondation d’Harcourt we are very happy to be part of this project and to collaborate with TdH in structuring psychosocial support for minors’ like Max. We hope that this will improve their resilience and help them rediscover their own personal resources.
An article on this topic from the Italian news paper Il Sole 24 Ore is available for download here (PDF, Italian).
That giving a voice and hope to each and every child is essential, especially if they have been through traumatic experiences.