|Italy – “The Preventive System and Human Rights”: a stimulus for the future|
|France – PE: A look at today’s young French people|
In 1995 the Salesians created in the Argenteuil district of Paris a new Valdocco where a team of 30 educators with the held of youth leaders and volunteers, worked with over 600 youngsters, Muslims, mainly from poor backgrounds, Asians and those from Eastern Europe. The Centre provided lessons during the day for 8 to 16 year olds and in the evening 16 to 25 years olds.
The main activity of the “Valdoccò” Centre was on the streets where most of the youngsters from the “banlieues” were living and family and socio-educational contacts were made bringing together the three key elements: family, school and street.
The heart of the Centre is the Salesian Fr Jean Marie Petitclerc, a well-known and important person in the area of French voluntary service, a university teacher. Over the years he has created a series of oratories among the concrete of the “banlieus” of Paris, and today he is a member of the Council of the Ministry for the Suburbs set up 3 years ago to respond to the serious social problems in the troubled districts of the large French cities.
Created in the last years of the 60s, when large numbers of immigrants were arriving in France especially from the former colonies, the “banlieuses” were set up originally as cities for temporary accommodation for the new workforce flooding into the country in those years. Nowadays these are the permanent residences of these new citizens.
The decay, the lack of infrastructure and overcrowding have produced an increase in crime, in the selling of drugs and guns especially among the younger ones. The “banlieue” has become synonymous in the public mind with insecurity and social malaise.
“There’s a great deal of talk about adolescent violence in the cities, I feel that the most natural way to express anger, to face up to conflict is with violence,” Fr Petitclerc says. – “What is not natural however is living together in peace, because it is fruit of an educational process. The capacity to establish peaceful relationships with those who are different to us must be learnt. Don Bosco says that violence in young people, is a sign of failure of our educational accompaniment, so let’s pull up our sleeves: let’s teach them. We need to work in collaboration with all adults who walk alongside young people. In this global approach, I believe the originality of the actuation of the Preventive System at Valdocco of Argenteuil, lies in the idea of looking for mediation, within the family, school, and city, to create ties among all the adults working with young people.”
The example of Fr Petitclerc and of the “Valdoccò” Centre in Paris was presented with the help of a video produced by Don Bosco Missions – Media Centre in Turin, available on the platform www.donbosco-humanrights.org