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Note: All info, events and activities described this article occurred in April 2016.

Its name is Azienda Multiservizi Igiene Ambientale Torino S.p.A. (Multiservice Company for Environmental Hygiene of Turin). People in Turin call it AMIAT and I have to admit that despite being native of this city, I had never looked up the meaning of this acronym before this morning.

The following news appeared in the newspaper in April and it’s about the agreement between the Municipality of Turin and AMIAT thanks to which some refugees are able to volunteer and clean up some parts of the city.

The project foresees a training period for the volunteers who are mainly from Pakistan and Nigeria. At first, roughly 20 applied and later the number of requests increased to 27. They’ll work six hours every Saturday for twelve weeks. Meanwhile AMIAT’s operators will be training new volunteers who’ll be ready to take over at the end of this 12 weeks period. They started working at the end of April, wearing the typical AMIAT yellow reflective vests, on the back, in black capital letters: Thank you Turin.

Immagini da parte di Alessandro Galavotti

Migrants clean up the city, ‘Thank you Turin’

Picture taken from: Ansa 

They thank us by cleaning the streets, the parks and the pavements. They thank the city that welcomed them by working. We all know it: Work ennobles man. These people, these men, are healthy and want to work for the community.

How many of us, even if unemployed, would be willing to spend our Saturdays sweeping the streets of our city for no money?

How many of us have such a strong civicness?

How many of us understand the importance of returning the Good we have received so to create common Good?

How many of us can understand that whoever arrives here – if valued and properly employed – is a resource and not a problem?

How many are still unable to understand that it’s not that “they” are too many but that it’s “us”, the pale ones, we are not prepared for them.

How often we hear: Well, we don’t have enough services for “us”, let alone “them”.

As long as we keep discriminating between us and them and we don’t consider ourselves a single population living on the same planet, we won’t have enough wealth for everybody.

By Cristina Monasteri

Original article in Italian here

Translator Francesca Colantuoni