Italy – Covid-19: Salesians have reached over 24 thousand families in need in Italy thanks to funding from the US government

20 September 2021

(ANS - Rome) - The project "Salesian Solidarity with Italy: the Emergency Response to COVID-19" funded by the American government agency for international development "USAID" is about to end. For 15 months it has supported projects of upliftment of groups of vulnerable people affected by the pandemic in Italy. The Salesian network that implemented the project include: "VIS - Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo", "Salesiani per il Social Aps", "CNOS-FAP", and "Salesian Missions USA" (Salesian Mission Office based in New Rochelle, USA). The projects operated in 16 Italian regions and reached 24,480 people including teachers, girls, boys, young people, needy families, and migrants.

A final review of the 15-month project was outlined during the event held on Friday 17 September on the terrace of the "Hotel Etico", a hotel in the center of Rome which also has formation and job placement of people with different types of disabilities as part of their mission.

It provided an opportunity for meeting and exchange of views. Among those present were Fr Gildásio Mendes dos Santos, Councilor for Social Communication of the Salesian Congregation, and Fr George Menamparampil, the Coordinator of the "Don Bosco Solidarity - Covid-19" network for the global coordination of Salesians in the face of the pandemic emergency. The project, in fact, is part of the broader action the Salesians are carrying out all over the world to respond to the Covid-19 emergency through global synergistic action.

Inaugurating the evening, Daniel Ross, Advisor for Economic Affairs of the US Embassy in Rome, explained that the US government committed $ 50 million to support Italian health security, civil society, and the private sector. A support that aims to help the population in Italy and to help reduce the risk of spreading of the pandemic.

Representatives of partner organizations present at the evening, included Fr Francesco Preite, president of “Salesiani per il Sociale Aps”; Fr Fabrizio Bonalume, Director General of “CNOS FAP”, and Nico Lotta, President of “VIS”, the lead agency of the project. Finally, Patricia Salgado-Hernandez, from the International Programs Office of "Salesian Missions USA", also spoke from New York.

Each one illustrated the interventions carried out, which reached 776 teachers and young people who took part in the formation corses offered. 450 students received PCs and tablets, 249 classes that joined the educational support activities. 30 reception centers for minors also had received hygienic and personal protective equipment along with 1,317 people who took advantage of shopping vouchers that were distributed. In addition, kiosks for psychological support were activated in Sicily through which the young migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa were comforted.

“Covid-19 has upset our lives and our daily routines,” said VIS President, Nico Lotta. “Thanks to projects such as the one financed by 'USAID' we have been able to redesign our interventions by placing a particular focus on Italy, one of the most affected countries. This project demonstrates that international cooperation will increasingly go towards global solidarity and that all countries, even those considered richer, may one day need the help from others because, as Pope Francis reminds us, 'No one is saved alone'.”


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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