People who enjoy this blog often ask if I have a ‘tip jar’ or Patreon or other place you can give money as a thank-you. Right now my university salary is enough for my needs, but if you do want to do something as a thanks, please consider making a small donation to Cittadini del Mondo, a micro-charity I work with in Rome that runs an intercultural library, medical clinic, and legal services for refugees who fall through the cracks of the international refugee system. It’s a tiny team, just twelve people, and they care for about 8,000 refugees a year, so even very small donations make a big difference, especially as they work to protect refugees from COVID-19.
Italy admits a lot of refugees but provides very little help once they arrive, while refugees who are no longer in active danger zones become ineligible for a lot of international aid, and can easily fall through the cracks. The Cittadini del Mondo team started by offering their medical clinic but found few refugees trusted them enough to accept the help. Then they created their Intercultural Library, providing books in the native languages of refugees who have been cut off from their native cultures. Once they opened the library, the refugees not only streamed in to use it, they started using the clinic too, since nothing proves you respect someone’s dignity and humanity quite as much as giving them a book.
You can learn more about the team and their library project here, or support them through the Decameron Project, where lots of great science fiction and fantasy authors and poets are sharing their work to keep people’s spirits up during the epidemic, and raise money for the team. If you’re interested in helping more (with book donations or a fundraiser) email me at ada palmer at u chicago dot edu.