Il Sicomoro


“Il Sicomoro” is the Italian translation of the sycamore, which looks like a fig tree and it is very popular in the Middle East: it is very common in the streets of Palestine, where it leaves splashes of colour on those biblical landscapes, apparently very similar to the ones in our Lucania. It has witnessed many chapters of the story of salvation so that it has become a topos in the language of the Bible. However, sometimes the Sycamore tree turns out as the real protagonist: just like in the evangelical episode of Zaccheo, where the Sycamore becomes the linking tool between Zaccheo and Jesus. In fact, the tiny and short Zaccheo ends up in a thick crowd and he climbs the sycamore in order to go over the multitude of people and get in contact with Jesus. With the roots in our land and our territory, we would like to become the right means, which let people make part of a bigger project, creating something capable of “changing lives”.

The Social Cooperative Il Sicomoro was born in Matera in 2003 from the planning of Diocesan Caritas and within the Policoro Project. Today, it is active in different municipalities in Basilicata diversifying its interventions in the third sector policies:

  • reception of refugees and asylum seekers (project SIPROIMI and MSNARA);
  • management of nursing homes;
  • job inclusion services for people with disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • rehabilitation services and school support for children who suffer from learning disabilities;
  • projects for the development of the local territory.

Check out here the Youtube Channel of Il Sicomoro – since they do have various sectors of activities it does speak not only about migration work.

In 2019, when Matera has been named the European Capital of Culture, “Il Sicomoro” led one of the projects included in the program of Matera2019. The project, called Silent Academy, deals with migrants and their manual skills, giving them the opportunity to develop the professional skills acquired in their home countries while exchanging knowledge and good practices with locals. Marked by the slow rhythm of hand movements, typical of the faber, the workshops teach local people traditional skills, such as colourful costumes for artistic performances or installations of woodwork craft, in a display of work and styles showing tangible examples of the connection between local and migrant culture, in a sign of solidarity. During the days of pandemia, our artist of Silent Academy with many local volunteers were sewing masks.

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In conclusion, the main objective of the cooperative is to have an impact on society, through concrete projects and actions aiming at the inclusion and integration of those who have disadvantaged backgrounds.

The activities of the volunteer can be divided into four chapters:

  • support the staff in the reception of new refugees (learning about the rules and administration to follow, accompanying the staff to appointments, helping to translate documents, etc);
  • realization of leisure time activities for refugee youth to support their integration into the local community, especially focusing on sports and outdoor activities;
  • supporting the families in learning the Italian language to enhance the integration process (during Italian training but also with extra non-formal learning activities or games)
  • plan and realize artistic workshops to support the social interaction between refugees and locals and stimulate creativity which helps psychological wellbeing;

The activities are planned to reflect the criteria of the ESC mission and are based on the principles of non-formal education and intercultural learning.

Hosting conditions
Volunteers do live in double rooms, inside a flat shared with other volunteers in Matera. The flats are between 5 and 10 min walking distance from the city center, and between 5 and 15 min to the hosting organization. The apartments are self-managed by the volunteers who live inside (cleaning, shopping, cooking) and everyone needs to follow basic rules.

Every volunteer hosted within ESC program receives on a monthly basis:

  • pocket money (5€ per day, about 150 euro)
  • food money (155 euro)

materaMatera is a city of about 65.000 inhabitants, in the beautiful southern region of Basilicata in Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera. The town is just in front of a small canyon carved out by the Gravina. Known as the city of the Sassi, its historical center, is famous for the Park of the Rupestrian Churches, which has made Matera considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. On 17 October 2014, Matera was declared the Italian host of the European Capital of Culture for 2019. See on the official website what happened that year: 

Dates: September or October 2022 – for 9 months

Application: candidates can apply through the European Solidarity Corps portal or by sending an email  – subject Il Sicomoro – with the PNR code, CV and motivation letter to:
Applicants from EU ONLY

Apply here:

Deadline: 21/08/2022