A new kind of post. But a topic that is as close to my heart as mental health.
I lived in Italy for 11 years and the news was (and still is) frequently focused on the boat loads of migrants who risked a treacherous journey to start a new life in Europe. Many didn’t make it and their stories are heart-breaking. What is also heart-breaking, however, is the prejudice they face if they do make it. I totally understand that the issue of immigration is a tough one. Italy, for sure, is struggling to meet the needs of its own citizens, let alone hundreds and thousands more.
Yet, ultimately, we are all human and human life must be respected and protected above all else. Last year, I realised that I wanted my daughters to know, understand and believe this so I wrote a book to help them see beyond the headlines and statistics that can be so derogatory towards immigrants.
‘The Other Side of the Fence – A Tale Of Love and Oranges’ is the story of Sayid, a Syrian teen who arrives on Lampedusa, an island in Italy that receives thousands of migrants every month. Francesca, whose father works at the reception centre, meets him having volunteered to work there for the summer. So begins a tale of sweet communication problems, heart-breaking experiences, a dangerous journey and an eventual love story.
The words above are Francesca’s. I will be sharing more quotes from my book in the coming months and let you know if I ever fulfil my dream of publishing the book. If nothing else, I will self-publish and place a copy in my daughters’ hands.
At twelve, they are young, impressionable and very susceptible to the prejudice around them. Above all, I want them to see beyond that and to understand that there are valuable human lives and stories behind every headline and every statistic.
I would like to stress that the quote above from my book is purely fictional and not my own lovely mother’s words!