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Who we are

We are a group of Milanese citizens who started collaborating as volunteers with various associations at the time of the very serious crisis in Syria.

Since then the haemorrhage of refugees from various countries has never stopped and more and more exoduses have been added from the African continent, from Pakistan and not least from Afghanistan and Iran. From the need to form an Association, "Rete Milano ODV" (Volunteer Organization) was legally established in October 2020.  All the operators of Rete Milano collaborate in the various activities on an exclusively voluntary. We are a non-partisan and secular association.

Rete Milano ODV was therefore created to give initial emergency aid to refugees in transit from Milan arriving mainly from the Balkan route.

These are teenagers, families with small children, unaccompanied minors arriving after a journey of months or even years, during which they suffer rejection, aggression and serious violations of their rights. They are people of different ethnic groups (80% are Afghans, the rest Iranians, Kurds, Syrians…) very physically and psychologically tested.


The Balkan routeproper includes the stretch of about 2300 km from Turkey to Trieste through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia therefore 6/7 borders have to be crossed.


In reality, the journey begins in far more distant countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan

and ends in Northern Europe (Germany, Belgium, Holland…). To get to Trieste you must therefore travelfrom 3000 to 5000 Kmdepending on the country of departure and it takes months, often years. Arrived in Bosnia you are blocked at the border with Croatia controlled in a very rigid and violent way by the Croatian police. Crossing the border and arriving in Slovenia is defined by migrants thegame, even if it is certainly not a game, but one of the riskiest and most demanding moments of the whole journey. It is not easy because the Croatian police give migrants a ruthless hunt (paid with European funds) with thermic sensors, drones, helicopters or more simply with trained dogs. Some even try 10-20 times before succeeding.  Often they are rejected after being robbed of everything and having been beaten or tortured with hot irons. Some have died after being thrown into the freezing rivers of the Croatian forest. Horrible and unacceptable torture already denounced in the European Parliament, but so far left without reaction.

Anyone who doesn't have the money to be taken by a passeur and manages to escape the controls walks for 15/20 days to cover the approximately 300 km needed to get to Slovenia.  But once in Slovenia it is often not finished. Against all international law, many now within walking distance of Trieste are rejected again in Bosnia.

The luckiest ones who arrive in Trieste are therefore survivors. They arrive with nothing because to face the light game they abandon the few things they have. Even in winter many are wearing only a t-shirt or a light sweatshirt. The Linea d'Ombra association of Trieste documents the status of people arriving from Croatia every day on its Facebook page.They have bruised feetfrom the Km traveled with soaked and smashed shoes and on the bodyinsect bites, bramble woundsof the Croatian forest oisigns of tortureof the Croatian police. They are very tired, they ask to rest, to be able to take a shower and change. Other migrants, many unaccompanied minors, arrive from Patras hidden on trucks embarked on ships calling at a port in southern Italy.

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