Italy – Salesian solidarity is a network: from United States to Italy to respond to pandemic

12 November 2020

(ANS - Rome) - The US government agency for International Development (USAid) has decided to finance the project "Salesian Solidarity with Italy: the Emergency Response to Covid-19". It aims to address the economic, social and educational consequences of the pandemic. Led by the Salesian NGO "International Volunteer Service for Development" (VIS), the project also involves three other Salesian entities: "Salesians for Social Aps"; “Salesian Missions”, the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, USA; and the Italian National Center for Salesian Works – Ongoing Vocational Training (CNOS-FAP).

The intervention program will run until October 2021 and will see 16 Italian regions involved; 24,480 people will be reached, belonging to vulnerable categories; 380 families shall receive food aid. Also, 249,000 individual protection devices (masks, gels, gloves), 7,500 educational kits and 470 computer supports will be distributed.

The project is developed on three components:

- digital resources, such as "educational kits", online courses, videos with reading of the stories of L'orizzonte alle spalle, the book created by VIS on the stories of migrants, and educational courses for children, families and teachers – the hashtag: #restiamoactive;

- support for vulnerable students who have undergone a suspension of their Salesian Vocational Training courses, so that they can continue their studies throigh distance learning with the motto “FormAzione per la ripresa, FormAction for recovery”;

- finally, continuing the #noicis(t)iamo campaign, the distribution of individual protection kits and basic necessities to families in need is foreseen - through a prepaid card with which they can shop on their own, choose what to buy, accompanied by awareness-raising actions on responsible consumption and recycling; and they will also continue to work in support measures for migrants and refugees in the centers of Sicily.

VIS was selected to lead the project. “Salesians from all over the world have mobilized, since March, to try to be close to the most needy, even in the months of the lockdown,” explains Nico Lotta, president of VIS. “We have converted our ongoing projects in the global South to try to respond to the new needs that have emerged with the pandemic. At the same time, we felt called to urgently intervene in Italy as well. This is why we joined three other Salesian entities, 'Salesians for Social Aps', 'Salesian Missions' and 'CNOS-FAP', in a project that could respond to the consequences of the health emergency in our country.”

“According to the charism of Don Giovanni Bosco, we operate in the conviction that only through education can rights be promoted, inequalities overcome, and the causes of poverty fought at the root. For this reason, for example, even in projects that more generally concern the environment or the fight against irregular migration, there is always a component linked to formation that allows true autonomy and true development of people and the community,” he said.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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