Here is the story about one of our participants in the LIME Project pilot action in Italy, Frank Ugiagb.
Frank is a 23 year-old Nigerian young man who has taken a life changing decision to leave his country and move to Italy three years ago.
ALDA’s team had an interesting conversation with Frank, during which we have learnt more about his life and his experience in the program:
How was your arrival in Italy?
“Wow, it was not easy”.
With these words, Frank started telling us about his journey from Nigeria to Italy. He first came to Lampedusa in Italy from the Libyan routes, through the deserts to the Mediterranean Sea. “It was too much depression and suffering” said Frank “Thank God, I made it here alive! It was a difficult experience”.
Like any other foreigner coming to “an anonymous country” as Frank described it, he had some communication problems due to the language barrier. First step was to enroll in a language school to learn Italian, which was not as easy either.
As someone who left his country for the first time, it was also challenging for Frank to deal with new people around him. “I haven’t left home to live alone before, it was hard to communicate, communication was a big problem for me” explained Frank.
How did you join the LIME Project?
With the help of his former manager, Frank managed to join LIME’s Professional Training Course for the catering sector in Rome with CIES onlus. Having studied food and nutrition back in Nigeria, Frank was interested in pursuing his studies and finding a career in this field.
Frank was successfully admitted into the program the second time he applied. During his first interview, he was advised to improve his Italian language skills prior to joining the program. Having done so, he was finally enrolled in the LIME Project in October, 2019.
What do you think about the content and the impact of the workshops?
New beginnings are always challenging, however, Frank’s motivation was always pushing him forward. “After the second day.. oh wow.. I was getting used to the system, I really loved the teaching, even if you didn’t want to go to the course before, you would still go because of the motivation and the encouragement that the teachers give you” said Frank, “how they tell their stories and explain their life history just gives you the feeling that you want to be with these people and it makes you love the course”. Frank continued “If such successful people can come out like this, it means so can I!”.
Frank expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to join the LIME Project. He believes that this was a life changing experience that provided him with skills and knowledge in both the catering sector and the professional domain in general. “They (CIES Onlus) taught me a lot of things I never knew before; How to be a good employee and a good boss, how to apply for jobs online, how to present myself in an interview…” said Frank.
The atmosphere was also something that Frank appreciated so much. He was happy and comfortable during classes. “There was no racism, nothing.. they were giving us course related information as well as life related advice. They were free, they joke, we talk together, they call you, they message you, they give you advice and encourage you” said Frank.
How did Covid-19 affect your learning process and how did you cope with it?
Like everyone else, Covid-19 affected LIME participants. They changed to the online learning mode through classes on Zoom and Google Meet, which was hard for Frank who has never used online learning platforms before, however, with the help of his tutors, he managed to do it and even enjoyed it. “They always had things for us to keep us busy even during quarantine. It was of a good quality even online” explained Frank
We are happy to have met Frank and we wish him the best of luck in his current internship that he has recently started and a prosperous future ahead!