France - A summer camp among young Roma, thanks to "ESPERE"

19 September 2018

(ANS - Lille) - In 2010, Danièle Sciacaluga, a Salesian Cooperator, had the opportunity to visit some Roma families in a camp in the city of Lille. Their situation observed, to meet their educational needs he decided in 2014 to start, together with a Salesian priest, the association "ESPERE" (Espoir Salésiens Pour les Enfants Roms d'Europe - Salesian Hope for Roma Children of Europe), committed to promoting the education of children according to the pedagogy of Don Bosco. Every year since then, during the summer, the association carries out summer activities in favor of those children who live in marginal conditions.

The adventure of "ESPERE" was repeated for the fifth consecutive year again this summer in collaboration with the network of "Don Bosco Action Sociale" initiatives (DBAS). For three consecutive weeks, every afternoon, the operators of the ESPERE association offered moments of sharing, informal education, discovery and play to Roma children of a camp-slum in Lille.

The team of operators, composed of Salesians Cooperators and Salesians of Don Bosco, both French and Belgian, this year was strengthened by the presence of new members: a student from Liège and young adults from Nancy, engaged with another association of the DBAS network - "Grandir Dignement" -  Growing up with Dignity - which operates in France and abroad with minors 'in conflict with the law'.

In the typically Salesian family atmosphere, the young people who engaged in these activities were able to discover the deplorable living conditions of Roma children and their families, but also all their "riches": hospitality, courtesy, joy of living ... At the same time, the students were able to know "in practice" the pedagogy and the spirit of Don Bosco, which they also transmitted to Roma families and children.

The daily program alternated educational games, board games, artistic workshops, excursions and music education, a visit to the zoo, the introduction to knitting, mini-courses of mechanics for older seniors, a night tour of the city of Lille for the animators and, above all, a climate of true sharing and closeness in every circumstance.

From the beginning of this Salesian initiative, the welcoming spirit from the families was warm and soon there was an atmosphere of mutual trust that, indeed, breaks down every prejudice.

Source : Don Bosco Aujourd’hui


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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