Skip to main content
Migration and Home Affairs

‘Riscrivere la mia storia – Rewriting my story’ intervention for the prevention of violent extremism in juvenile detention centres in Italy under the project FAIR

  • Italy
Target Audience
  • Youth/pupils/students
  • Prison / probation
key themes association
  • Prison and probation
  • Vulnerable youth and youth engagement in P/CVE
  • 2020


Fondazione Nuovo Villaggio del Fanciullo

Since 1990, Fondazione Nuovo Villaggio del Fanciullo, based in Ravenna, Italy, has been operating as a registered NGO offering rehabilitation services to persons with pathological addictions and psychiatric disorders as well as youth with vulnerabilities and unaccompanied foreign minors.

Fondazione Nuovo Villaggio has been increasingly engaged in alternatives to detention, including providing services to persons undergoing addiction treatment in its residential facility through a court order.

Specifically, the Foundation’s activities are aimed at the care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of people welcomed into the residential structures. The cross-cutting therapeutic and pedagogical approach to all activities is aimed at stimulating the development and enhancement of individual resources.

Fondazione Nuovo Villaggio del Fanciullo operates six residential structures in the Romagna region in Italy, working in a network with public and private facilities both nationally and internationally.

Type of organisation: Foundation

Project description

Objective of the intervention

Prison settings play a powerful role in the recruitment and radicalisation of persons to violent extremism. Youth are at stage in life where they try to find their place in the world. When youth are in conflict with the law, it becomes even more challenging to build an identity that can embrace values of positive citizenship.

Often, negative personal grievances can easily resonate with the narrative of violent extremism, increasing the chances that an individual will embrace such ideologies. The practice aims to allow for greater self-awareness among youth in conflict with the law and for them to re-elaborate their personal narratives and grievances. This is done in order to tackle some of the pull factors (such as sense of victimisation, disfranchisement and lack of belonging) that could lead youth to join extremist ideologies.

Intervention delivered

  • Encounter with Ms Valeria Collina, mother of Youssef Zaghba, a young Italian-Moroccan man involved in the 2017 London Bridge terrorist attack. Youssef and two others drove a van into pedestrians and stabbed others, resulting in the death of eight victims. During the encounter, Ms Collina shares her story and her son’s journey to radicalisation to violent extremism, including his difficult relationship with an abusive father, his internal struggles, and his inability to reconcile his Western Italian and Muslim-Moroccan values. She also recounts his failed attempt to join ISIS through Turkey, foiled as he is stopped by Italian border police. The encounter stimulates empathic listening, deep reflection, and a moment of confrontation on the process of radicalisation of Ms Collina’s son, which culminated in his death by the police during the attack.
  • A series of 10 sessions of 2 hours each: Practitioners encouraged a selected group of youth in conflict with the law to reflect on their own values and how they identify themselves as well as their main goals and dreams upon release from prison. The sessions covered the following exercises:
    • Use one word to describe yourself.
    • List your top 10 values, pick the 5 most important ones and describe why they are important to you.
    • Reflection and discussion on how to live in line with personal values and why that is important.
    • List 10 adjectives that describe you and which of these make you unique.
    • What is your life’s greatest dream and life goals and how can you reach them? Who are the safe persons who can support you?
    • For important values such as Family, Friends, Health, Education and Work: what are the things you would like to see change and what proactive steps can you take in the near future towards these changes?
    • Vision board/collage: As sessions proceeded, youth were given magazines and newspapers from which they had to cut images that represent their core values, their adjectives, their dreams and other things that are important to them. They were then asked to make a vision board/collage of these images and be able to use the vision board as a tool to narrate themselves.
    • Music and writings: Other youth who felt they had other artistic inclinations such as writing and art were encouraged to use those as well.
  • Final session: During the final session, youth had the opportunity to self-narrate, this time rewriting new endings to their stories. A meeting was organised with Ms Collina and youth from civil society organisations. Youth showcased their artistic work and elaborated on these new narratives in a context of mutual listening, free of judgment and prejudice.

Location and beneficiaries

Juvenile detention centre Turin: five juveniles, three of whom completed the intervention. Juvenile detention centre Firenze: a group of seven juveniles, four of whom completed the intervention. Total: 7 youth in conflict with the law; males; aged 14-21 years old.

Youth participated on a voluntary basis and were allowed to discontinue the intervention at any time. The intervention ensured confidentiality during the sessions and in relation to any data provided by the youth.


  • The practice was implemented based on the FAIR practice and manual titled ‘Program for prevention and disengagement from radicalisation for detainees and gradual transition towards their release’, available here.
  • The intervention, its evaluation and link to Italy’s policy framework is presented in the FAIR final deliverable ‘The Rule of Law and prevention of violent extremism: policies and practices within the Italian “narrow horizons”’. The publication was presented during the project’s Final Conference at the Italian Senate on 11 September 2019.
  • Information on the project under which the practice was implemented and all its deliverables can be found here.

Contact details


Fondazione Nuovo Villaggio del Fanciullo
Via 56 Martiri, 79
48124 Ravenna

Contact person: Patrizio Lamonaca, Project Manager
Telephone: (+39) 0544603528
Email | Website

Read the full practice

26 MAY 2021
‘Riscrivere la mia storia – Rewriting my story’ intervention for the prevention of violent extremism in juvenile detention centres in Italy under the project FAIR ‘Fighting Against Inmates’ Radicalisation’