“Mediterranea” is the social inclusion project for political refugees in which the General Curia of the Congregation of the Mission in Italy is involved.
The project came forth on the wave of the Vincentian Jubilee marking the 400th anniversary of the charism, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Its first year, 2018, was a year of formation and orientation. It actually began in 2019, when five political refugees formed an association together with Father Giuseppe Carulli and the architect, Michela Pasquali, who coordinate the project and the association.
In this first year of activity, we experimented in various areas and sectors: from the nursery sector to that of organic agriculture, from outdoor wood and iron furnishings to the recycling and valorization of waste materials.
With the development of the herb garden, a line of salts and sugars flavored with herbs and citrus has been produced, which is very successful and interesting. In addition, there is the production of citrus jams thanks to the enhancement of the plants present on the property of the Vincentian priests and brothers.
Under the careful and creative direction of Michela Pasquali, an entire original and compelling line of design has been developed for outdoors and for gardens: iron and wood vases and planters, vertical gardens, chairs and tables for gardens, hotels for insects, games for children, etc.
Mediterranea, however, is not just production and work.
It is also a place for meeting, discussion, and cultural formation on the themes of inclusion, sharing, welcoming, and the care of creation.
Crucial in this regard was the June event: “Inclusive. Site beyond the border.” It was three days of celebration in the Mediterranea garden, but also a creative citadel in the area where you can meet and get to know each other beyond the borders and reaffirm every human being’s need for knowledge, growth, and sharing.
The first year’s evaluation is certainly positive.
Three of our young people, thanks to the professionalism they acquired and their increased self-esteem and dignity, have found work elsewhere, and others have taken their place.
Collaboration arose with companies such as “Foo reuse design” for the production of lampshades from recycled plastic bottles and “Gustolab international,” an academic studies center for students from all over the world on the topic of nutrition and sustainability. The invaluable collaboration with the “Medihospes” cooperative, with Stefania Barzini and many other splendid friends and supporters of our project, has been consolidated.
The beginning of 2020 was not the best, as for everyone, because of the Pandemic. But we did not stop! It was an opportunity to review some priorities and plan new challenges.
Collaboration with the “Api romane” [“Roman Bees”] association is part of this line.
We started with the installation of six bee families for the production of honey, propolis, and royal jelly, but the goal is much more. We want to become promoters and supporters of urban beekeeping as an added value for the city of Rome, to try to bring people closer to bees, raising awareness of them. The bee is the most important pollinating insect, fundamental for the reproduction of plants and, consequently, for all living beings. In recent years, the decline in hives worldwide has been over 50 percent. Making people aware of this problem is fundamental. Fewer bees, less pollination, less guarantee of biodiversity with the harmful consequences of botanical impoverishment.
Once again, Mediterranea wants to work hard for safeguarding creation and for a more “bio-sustainable” life!
Father Giuseppe Carulli, CM
27 May 2020