A workplace that is becoming a community and supporting a young man from Senegal on his journey towards social inclusion and employment in Italy. A strong friendship has been formed from this community – one linking Youssouf and Matteo.
Matteo is a technician in charge of the laboratory at Molino Casillo, in Corato, Puglia. The room where he works is what he calls ‘the company’s beating heart’ because it is there where all the flours that go on sale are tested. The Apulian company is one small part of the Fare Sistema Oltre l’Accoglienza network, an AMU programme that promotes vulnerable young people’s integration into society and employment, both Italian and foreign. Working in that same room with Matteo is Youssouf, a Senegalese boy whom AMU has been supporting for some time, accompanying him on a pathway towards inclusion.
Matteo and Youssouf met in Bologna where they became work colleagues and friends. “Matteo taught me how to do this job, how to make focaccia and bread. In Senegal I only made baguette. I am very happy. He’s a good guy, a brother”.
The two take turns on the machines in the workshop, working side by side, passing tools and flours to each other. They have complementary characters. Matteo chats, jokes and laughs while Youssouf is more taciturn. He moves carefully and attentively in the work environment. They are both doing a job they feel passionate about. ‘For a few months Youssouf has been saying he would like to open a bakery in Senegal to provide work for his brothers. In fact, he is saving up some money for this project’. If Youssouf needs anything, Matteo lends him a hand, without giving it a second thought.
Youssouf’s path to inclusion in Italy has been made possible thanks to people like Matteo and a community that has formed networks between his work colleagues, of course, but also the company he works for which believed it was possible to train and employ this smart kid.