November 2018 – Italy
Wind from the South (Vento da Sud) is a social inclusion project promoted by two non-profit associations, “Centro Koros” and “Eterotopia, laboratorio navigante”, with the support of Unione Italiana Vela Solidale. It is sponsored by the Sicilian Juvenile Justice Department and it involved 7 teenagers. They were sent by the Catania and Palermo Social Services and were in a trial run regime (MAP – messa alla prova) as an alternative measure to their sentence*.
The main objective of the project is to offer a growth opportunity based upon values, such as respecting the law, respect for others and civil coexistence: basic competences that are necessary for finding one’s role in society.
A sailing journey offers a new point of observation: seeing land for the sea is literally a change of perspective that can encourage widening one’s horizon. While sailing, a teenager strengthens his or her self-esteem and acquires a new awareness of his role –suddenly a positive and active role – within a group. The meetings in the ports become occasions to discover our territory, to denounce dysfunctions but mostly to know, promote and valorise the existing good practices, especially as a means of fighting a mafia culture.
A sailboat is a small floating community, which requires clear and shared rules to work properly. We all challenged ourselves as individuals and as group: we tried to leave on the ground mental habits, prejudices and behavioural schemes to experiment a new way of staying together, made of different rules and habits: sharing and trust.
When you live together in such close contact, you share not only space but emotions, stories, expectations and fears as well.
You have the opportunity to really relate yourself to others, with no filter and no masks. By facing basic rules of coexistence and collaboration you challenge yourself, and may look back from a new perspective, made of a new and healthy sense of belonging.
During the circumnavigation of Sicily the teenagers also had the occasion to visit beautiful historical and archaeological sites they had never visited before: a journey in their own country alongside an inner journey.
Just like every other journey, teenagers will need some time to process this experience as well as to select those parts that will become key ingredients of their life history.
And we will be spectators of those changes now that they have touched land again!
by Francesca Andreozzi
– psychotherapist from Centro Koros