They run more than 400,000 businesses in Italy, which have been constantly growing during the last years despite the crisis and which give employment to thousands of people. Others are willing to take on any kind of jobs, often below their qualifications, helping the economy and providing the generational replacement the country needs after years of negative demographic trends. Who are we talking about? – About the numerous immigrants who live on our territory and who currently represent about 8% of the population.
Entrepreneurs and workers, but not only; many refugees throughout Europe work more and more often as volunteers in order to support local communities. A way to pay back the hospitality they received by putting their experience, gained in first person during their staying in the reception centers, at the service of the community. It is a slap in the face of all the common places that depict migrants as incompetent or opportunist people.
Such is the case of Liqaa Kareem Jeji, a Christian from Mosul who fled from Iraq because of persecutions. She has been living in Germany for three years now and with the help of the volunteers from the Community of Sant’Egidio, she started a soup-kitchen for the homeless in Mönchengladbach. “I like cooking very much, especially Iraqi typical dishes – Liquaa told us -. Sometimes I bring surprises to the soup-kitchen and everyone seems to appreciate them. I have become friends with many of them since I started working here, they treat me like a daughter. It means a lot to me, all together we can live in peace and realize our dreams. Helping the others makes me feel safe and happy”.
Such is also the case of Ruida Rasha, a 28-year-old Muslim who has been living in Germany for 2 years after having fled from Syria with her family because of war. She started to volunteer for an elderly German woman, Gertrud, who lives alone in a nursing home and does not have any relatives. “When I pay her visits, I always bring my son with me. He is less than one-year-old and his name is Ivan – said Ruida -. Gertrud’s only girls were her dolls sitting on a chair. Our visits are always full of joy and amazement, her face lights up every time she sees us. We sing and we laugh together, and every time I leave, I feel like weeping as I pass by her window. She became my grandmother, my family, my friend”.
At the beginning of 2014, there were 35 million foreign nationals in the European Union, 5 of which in Italy alone. According to the latest data of the Óbidos, foreign workers provide annually a substantial benefit for the State coffers, more than 4 billion euros, an amount of money that exceeds abundantly the resources spent by the government on assistance and hospitality offered to immigrants. “One day they say that foreigners are maintained by the citizens, on the next day they say that immigrants steal our jobs.
Immigration – explained Hamed Ahmadi, an Afghan restaurateur who arrived in Italy in 2006 as an asylum seeker – has always existed and should not be approached in political terms but from an economic point of view. During the eight months spent in the eception center, I have calculated that they spent less than 12,000 euros to help me. Whereas I paid 47,000 euros of taxes only last year”.
Immigration is a stimulus also to the economies of the developing nations. The World Bank estimated that the total remittances of the refugees in Europe are estimated at around 500 billion dollars, constituting thus the primary source for humanitarian aid and for supporting the growth of the nations from which they come. An vital contribution if we want to curb the migratory process, that will not stop as long as poverty, hunger, and war exist.