Volunteer Profile: Marta Sappé Griot

Marta Flash Mob

Marta at the “Demystifying Roma – Phiren Amenca Seminar” flashmob, 2013.

14

Marta presenting at the European “Boogie Man Complex” – Phiren Amenca Study Session on Challenging Antigypsyism, 2012.

My name is Marta, I’m 20 years old and I come from Italy. I’m doing my voluntary service in Germany, in the South-Western city of Karlsruhe, and I’m working with asylum-seekers and immigrants.

In Karlsruhe there’s a big center where all asylum seekers coming to the region of Baden-Württemberg have to go to ask for asylum. Many of them come to Germany after weeks or months of travel. They have reached a safe country and they hope they’ll have the opportunity to build a new life. On the contrary, what they have to face doesn’t help them to find their place into the new society. Months and years of waiting, limitations and fear of rejection. Many of them have no idea how the asylum procedure works, some of them are ill or strongly traumatized. They need help, advice and someone who listens to them.

While working in the Center of Human Rights, I just try to give an answer to their questions.

Even though I already had some experience with refugees in Italy, it wasn’t easy for me to deal with such stories of escape. Only after a few months I had to learn how to distance my emotions from my work and it was really sad when I realized that I was becoming used to atrocities.

But fortunately, a voluntary year doesn’t mean only work! Karlsruhe is a nice city and it wasn’t difficult for me to find new friends. I’m living with other volunteers, two German girls, and I’ve become very close to them. Also thanks to other opportunities I had, like the Phiren Amenca seminars, I’m getting to know many people and other young human rights activists. What more could I ask for?