NOVEMBER 22, 2017
ROME—The largest refugee camp in Europe is located in the town of Mineo (Cara di Mineo), on the Italian island of Sicily. Thousands of immigrants from over 40 nations such as Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria have fled to the camp seeking asylum.
For the last five years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been visiting the camp (pictured above) to offer free Bible education to any who are interested. With the close cooperation of the Cara di Mineo administration, a 50-passenger bus was eventually made available for refugees who wished to attend the religious services of the Witnesses, and since then many have been making the trip to the Kingdom Hall (place of worship) each week. Ms. Ivana Galanti, a vice director at the Cara di Mineo camp, comments on her experience in working with Jehovah’s Witnesses: “I have to say that I acknowledge and appreciate the work they have done and are continuing to do for our guests. I think for the refugees, who find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, fleeing from sad, even devastating conditions, being welcomed [by Jehovah’s Witnesses] is a rich and satisfying experience.”
Humphrey Osagiede, a Nigerian man who arrived in the camp in 2011, began studying the Bible with the Witnesses and was later baptized on November 23, 2014. He comments: “The Bible really changed my life. I abandoned drug abuse and a promiscuous lifestyle. When I arrived, the Witnesses helped me both in a practical and spiritual way. I also thank the people in charge of the camp for their efforts in arranging transportation for us to attend the religious services of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Mr. Osagiede now lives and works in Palermo, Italy, and enjoys sharing the same Bible message that helped him with others, including refugees.
Christian Di Blasio, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Italy states: “Our primary work is to help people understand what the Bible teaches. Working together with the staff at the Cara camp has created an opportunity for refugees to benefit from Bible education, an education that addresses many of their spiritual and emotional needs.”
International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000
Italy: Christian Di Blasio, +39-06-872941