Italian Village Was Becoming Ghost Town Until Refugees Came

A centuries-old Italian village that were dying because so many people were leaving is experiencing a revival thanks to refugees fleeing from war-torn countries such as Libya and seeking new homes in Europe.

“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 the introduction of their video. “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 who came to the village is Assan Baldé. In 2014, the young Senegalese man crossed the Mediterranean from Libya, and was sent to Camini as part of the EU’s refugee program known as Eurocoop. Baldé met Cosmano Fonte and the two formed a mentorship and friendship.

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. National Geographic says Baldé has found a second home and a second family with Fonte.

For Assan, the village is now his home. “I am free in Camini,” he explains in the video. But even more importantly, he’s found a family.

For his part, Fonte says he his happy that Assan and the other refuges are calling Camini home. “Thanks to this emergency that has reached Camini, little by little, things in the village are changing,” he said.

Their story sheds a different light on what is often referred to as the refugee crisis in Europe.

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