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About us

We are a group of creative young people who love inventing and creating new objects with their hands, as well as giving life to games that ignite narratives and foster an attitude of sharing.

Giocherenda comes from pulaar (an African language) and it means “solidarity, awareness of interdependence, strength through sharing, the joy of doing things together”.

We take games seriously!

Since Giocherenda sounds like the Italian verb giocare (to play), we thought that it would be great to use play so as to develop efficient tools enabling people to create their own stories, recall memories and experience the joy of sharing.

We, the people of Giocherenda, come from Guinea, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Morocco. Most of us left their countries due to on-going conflicts and dictatorships, went through a terrible journey while looking for peace, freedom and adventures towards a promising future.

Once in Palermo, we met at school and in reception centres, and we decided to challenge ourselves and the country which is hosting us: we want to give a positive contribution to society by making the most of our creative spirit and sense of initiatives.

In order to give our contribution, we started a human development and cooperation project, with a flipped perspective: our aim is to help everyone discover a mandatory solidarity as we all depend on each other, in a sense to discover the principles of giocherenda

Giocherenda is: 

Bandiougou Diawara, Hajar Lahman, Ibrahim Ture, Magassouba Gassimou, Mustapha Conteh, Omar Sillah, Saifoudiny Diallo, Amadou Diallo, Moussa Sangarè, Dawda Barry, Alpha Oumar Bah, Clelia Bartoli and Valentina Castagna.

Our vision

We believe that we need a long-time perspective so as to imagine voluntary and business models allowing individual potentials to flourish and add value to the host countries.

We would like to open Giocherenda to the opportunities of social enterprises, by promoting a cooperative, ethical and circular economic model which is consistent with the principle of solidarity and giocherenda’s set of values

Our experience aims at demonstrating that it is possible to overcome stereotypes and discriminations: we would like to promote a solidarity-based economy and become both actors and creators of fantastic worlds, captivating stories and unifying myths.

We will do this for us, for all the people and for our new city: Palermo.

Our mentors

Marina Warner

Marina Warner is a British writer and expert on myths, symbols and fairy tales. She is the president of the Royal Society of Literature and lecturer at the University of London. In 2015 she was awarded the Holberg Prize and decided to share her prize money with refugees. That’s how Stories in Transit. Telling Stories in Times of Conflict started. It is a cycle of workshops developed and carried out with the contribution of several scholars, artists and storytellers from all over the world. The idea is that storytelling can create an intangible shelter where one can seek solace even in the toughest and most precarious times. The youth of Giocherenda collective had the opportunity to participate in these workshops and are now supported by Marina Warner and her Stories in transit group. The cycle of workshops has been made possible thanks to the generous contribution of Metabolic Studio.

Conrad Shawcross

Conrad Shawcross is a British artist whose impressive sculptures are aimed at exploring philosophical meanings. Through “Response” foundation he made a donation to Giocherenda that allowed the collective to purchase tools and materials and start the project.

Moreover, the artist shared his creativity and expertise in order to invent new cooperative and creative games.


Philip Zimbardo 

Philip Zimbardo is a famous social psychologist, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. He is mostly known for having analysed and tested the Lucifer Effect and the Broken Windows theory. He met the youths of Giocherenda collective in Palermo and he decided to support their learning path so as to allow them to become trainers of the Heroic Imagination Project:  a training programme aimed at developing resilience skills created by Zimbardo and his team.

These young migrants are indeed extraordinary resilient role models and, properly trained, they might become excellent teachers and, at the same time, examples of “heroic imagination”.

Istituto di formazione politica Pedro Arrupe

Coordinated by Nicoletta Purpura, Anna Staropoli and Massimo Massaro, The Pedro Arrupe Political Training Institute has offered a space to set up a creative workshop, where the members of Giocherenda collective can train, work on their creations and carry out activities and events.

Our journey

Even though Giocherenda was funded only in June 2007, we have already participated in several initiatives, including:

  • Nativi Geniali, a group of Sicilian talented youths;
  • Debate on best practice of circular economy held during the Fair of Conscious ConsumptionFa’ la cosa giusta;
  • Resilience training Heroic Imagination Project for the staff of Dell’Oglio, brand specialised in luxury fashion goods
  • Stories in transit III at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford and at the Birckbeck College, University of London;
  • International conference Gli sconfini dell’Educazione organised in Naples by “Maestri di Strada”;
  • Workshops for schools held at the Ecomuseo Mare Memoria Viva, Palermo;
  • Event in the frame of “Magione We”, Palermo;
  • Festival of Migrant Literatures, Palermo, 3rd edition;
  • READ: art and creativity to promote reading promoted by the Centro per lo sviluppo creativo Danilo Dolci, Palermo;
  • Ballarò Buskers Festival, Palermo, 2017;
  • Conference on Unaccompanied Minor Migrants, organised by Centro Astalli, Palermo;
  • Festival of Host Communities, Salemi (Italy);
  • GEM: Game for EuroMed, a project coordinated by CESIE;
  • Conference on Giorgio La Pira, “Spes contra Spem“, organised by Centro Studi Arrupe;
  • Campo Sconzajuoco, educational workshops on counteracting organised crime with a gamified approach;
  • Castellammare Culture Fest 2017;
  • Conference Language Across the Mediterranean, ItaStra – University of Palermo; ;
  • Una Marina di Libri, Book Fair Palermo 2017.


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