ITALY: A young woman’s life is transformed by support and education she receives at Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco
(MissionNewswire) Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome, Italy is one of several Salesian vocational training centers across the country. The school provides youth 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. Adriana is one young student who benefited from the Salesian organization.
Adriana’s youth is marked by abandonment and painful geographical moves in an attempt to find a place where she is welcomed. Her father left the family when she was young. Her mother was barely able to manage taking care of her six children. Until the age of 15, Adriana survived by engaging in petty theft, begging, washing car windshields at traffic lights and sleeping on the street.
It was an experience at an evangelical church that changed her. It was at that church that Adriana decided to create a better future for herself. But change didn’t come easy. Before Adriana could start on a new path, her father returned and convinced the family to leave Rome. They moved first to Naples, then to Spain and later to France.
In the places where Adriana and her family went, she had no friends, didn’t know the local language and felt out of place. In the end, her parents decided to return to Rome and her father left his family again. This is when Adriana first connected with the minor’s reception center at Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco.
Adriana was able to attend school and had the opportunity to access a work placement through a training internship made available by Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco. In 2014, Adriana obtained her middle school diploma. After holding a few jobs, Adriana finally found work in a bakery in 2015. She still works there today.
Adriana is now 23 years old and has a home, a family, friends and her job in Rome. She likes her job a lot, but above all, she likes to chat with the people in the neighborhood. She credits her transformation to Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco and her faith.
“God saved me,” says Adriana, “I feel loved by Him and this is the most beautiful thing that exists in the world. I made that jump and I’m happy.”
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 and 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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UNICEF – Italy Poverty
Salesian Missions – Italy