Alì is 45 years old and has been a karate and self-defense teacher since he was 20 years old. Before the pandemic he worked full-time as a security guard and as an instructor; today thanks to the socio-educational project Family and work he takes care of hospitality at the Center of Charity in Piazza San Giacomo in Foligno.
Alì has been in Italy for twenty years, ever since he left Morocco in search of opportunities. Since that time he says he has always worked hard.
“I came here because I had a lot of contacts. In Morocco I had participated several times in the world championships and had become an instructor. Over time I met many people, Italian and others, who were already here and as soon as I arrived I started doing what I knew how to do best which is teaching.”
Until the pandemic arrived.
A new opportunity thanks to the "Family and work" project
“With COVID I found myself out of work. The gym I worked for was closed and the surveillance and security activities I did, which were mostly related to events and clubs, were suspended. Even though security for the premises was not an occupation for me, I did it because I had no alternatives. Then the pandemic began and the job grant I received gave me everything back and I was able to do something that was more in line with my aspirations".
So Ali became a concierge at the diocesan Caritas for a few months. "In the beginning it was difficult to work there because my mentality was wrong. Then I realized that I was doing what you never do on the aikido mat, one of the sports I teach: I was focusing on my body, my actions, while here you have to focus on your heart. When everything starts from within you see people smile. So it's nice to see happy people, who find some peace with a few words".
Today, that work grant has become a job contract: Ali works steadily with the diocesan Caritas in reception activities and is happy.
Yes, because work is much more than a joband as he says, it is the blanket of life, “something that makes you stay warm, when it's cold outside. I went through a period when there was little work and I also had to do activities that I didn't like but now, finally, I'm happy”.
People who have not yet made it back ask him what great lesson he has learned and this makes him want to give something back to them. He responds by singing he words of a well-known Egyptian song which he hums every morning when no one hears him. It’s about taking small steps into the future. As Ali says, one must learn to live day by day, leaving fears behind, because today is the only thing we have, “tomorrow, we will see”.
The "Family and work" project, carried out in collaboration with Caritas Diocesana Foligno and the Arca del Mediterraneo Foundation, is one of the ongoing projects of the Valter Baldaccini Foundation and has as its objective the job placement of unemployed and disadvantaged people.
There are many people like Ali who need help to find a job and regain their dignity. You can help them by supporting the Foundation with a donation.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT