Italy – "Giving more to those who had less" project concluded; but Salesian commitment to counter educational poverty continues

16 June 2022

(ANS - Rome) - After nearly four years of typically Salesian service, that is, in favor of those most in need, the project of the Salesians of Italy "Giving more to those who had less" has come to an end, a project selected by the social enterprise "Con i Bambini" as part of the Fund for the contrast of juvenile educational poverty, which involved 14 territories in seven Italian regions (Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Sicily, Lazio, Liguria, and Marche), characterized by situations of dispersion, early school leaving, cultural deprivation, and poverty.

The specific objective in the direct intervention with adolescents was to combat educational poverty and social inequalities, increasing in them a sense of citizenship, knowledge of their rights and duties, and improve their use of services and educational opportunities. Work has also been done by involving teachers in training adolescents and their parents through workshops for and with families.

Specifically, about 3,000 adolescent boys were worked with, thanks to about 1,200 teachers and 1,300 parents, and about 460 public entities/organizations were involved. It was curious to observe that 20 percent of the 3,000 adolescents involved participated in the activities, both in and out of school.

"Social and educational work makes sense if we grow hope in the hearts of the children, considering that we do not all start with the same abilities so we have to put everyone in a position to do something good in life," says Dr. Andrea Sebastiani, Director of "Salesians for the Social APS."

Roberto Maurizio, scientific head of the project, stresses the importance of the collaboration he had with schools and of creating with them individual paths for children so that they would make paths of awareness about the desires of the future. "Alone you cannot reduce educational poverty, but it is work that must be done in synergy. You cannot work for people, but with people because addressing the poverty of children means addressing the poverty of families."

In the events related to the pandemic, Salesian educators became resilience operators, always accompanying the children entrusted to them under the banner of 10 virtues: love, respect, empathy, listening, understanding, tenderness, patience, hospitality, trust and hope, summarizes Ledo Prato, secretary of the "Mecenate 90" association.

Undeniable, remarks Anna Maria Serafini, Italian coordinator of the "Child Guarantee Plan," was the relevance of family support measures and funds for social policies, which in this project really made it possible to realize big dreams in the concrete stories of minors.

"The process activated, which led to building the educational community, made up of oratories, associations, schools, around the adolescent is the only viable road capable of breaking down inequalities," adds again Fr. Francesco Preite, President of "Salesians for the Social, APS". "Now we must neither turn back nor give up! Strengthening daytime educational centers for minors and activating innovative processes to help young NEETs (who are neither studying, nor working, nor receiving training, Ed.'s note), are two objectives to be pursued in the immediate future so that this beautiful work done by educators, animators, social workers, teachers, oratories' officers, and school directors can continue," the Salesian concludes.


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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