Centuries-old Italian villages that were dying are reviving thanks to refugees fleeing from war-torn countries and seeking new homes.
“The needs of each have come together in Camini, a 12th-century town whose population has dwindled to about 280 people — a quarter of what it once was,” explains National Geographic. “In hope of breathing new life into deserted neighborhoods, Camini has welcomed more than 80 refugees and immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.”
One of the refugees is Assan Baldé. In 2014, the young Senegalese man crossed the Medditerranean from Libya, and was sent to Camini’s budding refugee program. There he found a second home and a second family with Cosmano Fonte.
Alongside Fonte, Assan is helping to rebuild the old town that was falling into disrepair because of people abandoning their homes to find work in the city.
But for Assan, the village is now home. “I am free in Camini,” he explains. But even more importantly, he’s found a family.