11-07-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
He arrived in Kenya with his load of enthusiasm, passion and professionalism and with innovative ideas of an intelligent and not impromptu solidarity.
In the annus horribilis that, as all over the world, in this country has also upset the social sphere, Nicolò Govoni is ready to bring an injection of hope more, a vaccine to the miseries of our time composed of aggregation, culture and participation.
We wrote a few months ago (READ HIS HISTORY READ HERE) about the young Cremonese founder of the Onlus "Still I Rise", who as a volunteer decided to dedicate his life to refugee children and young people, giving a managerial role to the inner need to do good, when we announced the idea of opening an international school for refugees in Nairobi.
Now he is finally in the destination of his new project, he has just finished the quarantine and is ready to start this new adventure.
Malindikenya.net interviewed him.
"I'm literally thrilled - Nicolò begins - after the canonical 14 days and the certificate of negativity to the virus I finally go out and discover a reality that until now I've only read and heard about, but that Still I Rise has studied and lived for six months thanks to Giovanni Volpe, indispensable Program Manager in Nairobi who has "prepared the camp". The first outing was already working: we visited some structures that could host the international school for refugees that we intend to open as soon as possible. Our target is a building to be renovated in a significant area of the metropolis, but not necessarily symbolic, as it may be one of the slums.
Personally, I am very attracted to the Eastleigh district, the "Little Mogadishu" which is not only a Somali enclave, but also home to Ethiopians, Eritreans, South Sudanese, Congolese... the coexistence and complicity between students of different ethnicities and religions is the basis of our educational program.
After the experience with the refugees on the island of Samos in Greece, in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey and later in Syria, where the non-profit organization is opening a school in the city of Al Dana, the great step of Africa represents the maturity of a non-profit organization born from an urgency of the heart but in a few years has become a serious and well-structured reality, which has received recognition and support from organizations and organizations: the State of California has also granted the non-profit organization the use of their school programs.
At this point, the choice of Kenya was not by chance.
"Africa is the land of migration par excellence and the errors of humanity - explains the author of "White as God" - and Kenya is the second country in terms of number of refugees after Ethiopia, but unlike Ethiopia here they are concentrated in camps, Dadaab and Kakuma, where in addition to the conditions of hardship and misery, for young people there is a lack of education and growth, that is, hope for a better future. Our goal is to bring out at least some children from these realities, handing over the keys to change their lives.
As soon as the structure has been identified, as happened in Turkey, Nicolò and his team, also composed of two Kenyan collaborators, will start with the restructuring and preparation of the school, according to a path and a method that he has created and successfully experimented.
"We started from the emergency school, in places where children come and go and stay for no more than six months. There we needed a quick education program to give a basic level, a smattering. Here, on the other hand, as in Turkey, we are relying on a 7-year programme that will give them the opportunity to obtain an international diploma and access scholarships to continue. The idea is to open with a youth gathering center and select students, choosing between refugees of all nationalities and some Kenyans from Nairobi's poor neighborhoods, with meritocratic criteria and after evaluating the parents' willingness to give a future to their child. Our model foresees that 50% of the students are refugees, the other 50% local children: among the latter we would like to include also those students who come from those families who, although they cannot afford the costs of private education in Kenya, have the possibility to sustain normal school fees and, at the same time, the desire to offer their child a high level educational path.
We invest in these children who must represent the future of humanity. For this reason, local teachers will also be selected and will be enrolled in specific training courses, paid for by the organization. We believe we can create a home-school in Nairobi that will become a gym of life and culture, where we can also create events, involve those who live outside the structure and want to embrace our philosophy".
Nicolò Govoni is only 27 years old and his ideas are very clear.
Not only has he arrived in Kenya with a serious and innovative project, but he has already laid solid foundations and barriers to minimize risks and he intends to stay in the country for a long time.
"I am obviously aware of the latest events and subsequent debates regarding solidarity in Kenya but we have never been for "volonturism". We have very strict and concerted security protocols at international level and in Kenya we are already in contact with COIKE. We know the dangers of the place for those who have chosen this mission and we have already established ourselves locally, relying among other things on one of the best law firms in the country. Now all that remains is to leave, hoping to be ready to inaugurate the school at the same time as the new school year begins, in January 2021".
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