ITALY: 1,157 youth engaging in volunteer projects through Salesians for Social around the world
(MissionNewswire) Starting mid-January, 1,157 young people will have an opportunity to give back through civil service volunteering. Salesians per il Sociale (Salesians for Social) coordinates the Universal Civil Service in Italy and other countries, which enables youth to have these life-changing volunteer experiences.
Currently, there are 90 projects that will host volunteers in Italy, Spain, France and Romania. In Rome, volunteers will spend time at Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco, which is one of several Salesian vocational training centers in the country. The school provides youth with the skills they need to enter the workforce and find and retain stable employment. This ensures that they are able to escape conditions of poverty and live a productive life.
Volunteers traveling to Spain, France and Romania will spend their time in Salesian oratories, boarding schools, traditional schools and family homes. They will plan and execute activities around study support, education, creative arts, sports, language and music workshops. Two more projects will start in February in Angola, Ghana, Ethiopia and Palestine, with eight volunteers.
“Volunteering is a great way for youth to give back and help support others,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Many youth also see volunteering as a way to gain valuable work experience that can be applied later in the workforce. They are able to apply some of the skills they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. The opportunity to volunteer is invaluable for many.”
In Italy, young people who are unemployed and not in school or training programs represent 20 percent of the population. Vocational training is an educational path that serves as a highly effective bridge between school and work.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
UNICEF – Italy Poverty