Fatoma School – A language bridge between cultures

In September 2023, the quiet village of Borgo Mezzanone witnessed the birth of Fatoma School, with the aim of offering Italian and English courses for migrants in the area. Just four months after its opening, the school has already conducted four Italian courses, one English course for the local youth, and a special course for women. But this is only the beginning, with many more initiatives in the pipeline.

Italian courses at Fatoma School are divided into two types: a literacy course for those without basic language skills, and a pre-A1 course for those with some knowledge but not enough to attend a regional A1 course. The school’s goal is to reach all those individuals left behind by the system, such as migrants who do not meet the minimum level required to access a regional course.

Fatoma School aims to prepare its students to pass a course and a test, thereby obtaining the first language certification (A1). However, the institution goes beyond the linguistic aspect, developing courses and activities that facilitate integration and contribute to creating beauty in the community.

The Fatoma Yaiw Foundation is the supporting organization behind this initiative. It supports preparation courses and social and cultural integration for those who lack the necessary tools to face daily life in Italy. The Foundation recognizes the cultural barrier that arises when one remains for years in a ghetto without learning the Italian language or culture.

The involvement of Fatoma’s filmmakers made it possible to produce a documentary in 2022, titled “One Day, One Day,” which chronicles a year in the lives of the young people of Borgo Mezzanone. This film shed light on the lack of widespread education in reception centers, highlighting the stories of Irma, Antonella, Omar, and others who tirelessly work to bridge this gap.

Irma and Antonella are Italian language teachers for foreigners, engaged for years in reception centers in the Foggia area. Omar, on the other hand, is a Gambian cultural mediator who remarkably learned Italian after his arrival in Italy two years ago.

The collective was struck by tragedy when Fatoma, one of the protagonists of the documentary, fell victim to a road accident shortly after the film’s release. In his honor, the group proposed opening a school in the ghetto bearing his name. With the support of Irma, Antonella, and Omar, today Fatoma School is a tangible reality offering hope and opportunities to those in need. Months into this journey, Irma, Antonella, and Omar constitute the teaching staff of the first Italian school for migrants in Borgo Mezzanone, carrying with them the memory of Fatoma and his thirst for knowledge.




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