The center was inaugurated on Wednesday, December 14th with the La Spezia Prefect Maria Luisa Inversini, the Sarzana Mayor Cristina Ponzanelli and AVSI Secretary General, Giampaolo Silvestri.
The facility in Via Ghigliolo in Sarzana (located in the province of La Spezia) will host about ten Ukrainian refugees thanks to the extraordinary maintenance operations that have turned the villa into a safe place for people in need.
After the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, the city of Sarzana immediately expressed its willingness to welcome refugees fleeing the war, allowing the use of the villa to house them. AVSI, which implements projects to support refugees and migrants in Italy, immediately offered to bear the cost of the necessary renovations to make the villa habitable.
They consisted in a series of operations carried out to upgrade and certify the facilities, refurbish and secure some interior and exterior spaces of the villa. Today, after completion, the renovated facility will be managed by an operator identified by the Prefecture and will become a Reception Center.
Villa Ghigliolo in Sarzana has become a place of solidarity
During the inauguration, La Spezia Prefect Maria Luisa Inversini, Sarzana Mayor Cristina Ponzanelli and AVSI Secretary General Giampaolo Silvestri made the following statements
“The path taken is a positive example of synergy between institutions and the private social sector, which will make it possible to offer the prospect of a qualified reception to Ukrainian refugees who, having left their suffering country, have reached our provincial territory,” said Maria Luisa Inversini, Prefect of La Spezia. “The value of this day is even more important considering that today this villa taken from crime is returned to its social purpose, confirming our commitment to the affirmation of the culture of legality”
“Confiscating a building from criminal groups and transforming it into a shelter for the community and particularly for those who need it most is a success for all institutions – added Cristina Ponzanelli, Sarzana Mayor. She continued “I would like to thank the Prefect of La Spezia and AVSI Foundation, which invested in this project and in Sarzana, as well as all the associations that have worked with us showing how these goods can be an opportunity for redemption, and how the law which allows their reuse is a very important tool for the institutions and all civil society”
“We worked together with different people and institutions and joined forces to better respond to this great challenge of our time – migration. Opening this center is a concrete example of what can be achieved when different institutions come together and cooperate for the common good – said Giampaolo Silvestri, AVSI Secretary General. “We are proud to support this action together with the Municipality of Sarzana and the Prefecture of La Spezia to help refugees in our country. A particularly significant intervention that will turn a facility formerly owned by criminal organizations into a place of solidarity”