France - The "52 words" project: eye-to-eye with the young

05 March 2019

(ANS - Paris) - "Which Salesians for the young people of today?" is the question that will guide the next General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation. To answer, it is good to listen carefully to young people first, to get to know them in depth. This is what the Salesians of the France-South Belgium Province (FRB) proposed to do with their "52 words" project.

The project "52 paroles de jeunes" (52 words of young people) consisted in collecting oral testimonies of about fifty youths aged 15 to 25 on what they experience, feel, believe, hope and desire about life's great themes. However, it is actually aimed at adults - parents, educators – so that they may listen to what young people say and experience and to foster and create a better dialogue and educational relationship between young people and adults.

"'52 words' found its inspiration in the film 'Human' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. This series of interviews causes a profound and positive look at the human race. As educators who work specifically with teenagers, we had the idea to draw inspiration from them, to change the way we look at this segment of the population that is too often criticized," explained the project coordinator, Salesian Brother Jacques Rey.

The selection of young people to be interviewed was carried out by educators and assistants in school pastoral care in order to obtain the widest possible sample. The interviews were conducted in urban and rural areas, both in France and in Belgium.

Operationally, it amounts to interviews featuring quick curt Q & As: young people speak in front of the camera, on a black background. No interference; only their words to hear and receive. Each boy or girl was given two hours, during which each young person answered fifty questions he or she did not know beforehand. Their answers are therefore spontaneous.

The project is divided into four "seasons" made up of 13 episodes each. Each episode, which does not exceed five minutes, sees five or six young people alternating on the same theme; by publishing a video every week, one gets to hear the voice of young people on many topics, for a whole year.

The project was launched on the occasion of the Don Bosco Festival in 2019 and videos are available on the website and on the YouTube channel "52 parole de jeunes".

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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