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ITALY: Free sports programming funded in Bari, Italy

Salesian Redentore Amateur Sports Association, located in Bari, Italy

Salesian programming to reach nearly 500 people


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with Salesian Redentore Amateur Sports Association, located in Bari, Italy, have won the “Sport of All Neighborhoods” competition under the “Sport and Health” category in a plan from the Ministry of the Economy. The “Redentore. The sport that regenerates smiles for life” project was approved and will provide two years of sporting, recreational, educational and free activities for close to 500 children, older youth and the elderly.

The project will take place at the Salesian Redentore Center in the Libertà district of Bari, on the eastern outskirts of the city. The district has a population of 60,000 inhabitants, the largest multi-ethnic population and the highest percentage of minors undergoing criminal proceedings in the region of Apulia.

“Don Bosco said that Salesians must turn wolves into lambs and lambs into shepherds this educational path often begins with sport,” explained Father Giuseppe Ieva, president of Redentore Amateur Sports Association and leader of the project. “The Salesians have been in the Libertà district for more than 100 years. If you go past the Redentore you see the kids with a ball, then sport becomes an educational tool to produce good Christians and upright citizens.”

The project includes sports courses for youth and specific activities for those over age 65, including people with disabilities. Other activities that aid study, outdoor multi-sport summer centers, food availability, education and film groups will be supported by volunteers of the Universal Civil Service.

Pietro Petruzzelli, councilor for sport for the Municipality of Bari, said, “‘Sport and Health’ encourages sports practice, from basic motor activity to competition. Everyone who goes through the oratory learns to practice a sport, but not only that, they do it through building up a community.”

“We work better together,” said Ruggiero Russo, a planner at PGS Italia, who wrote up the project. “I want to talk about the dream, because we started from here, from the heart that regenerates smiles and life. The Libertà neighborhood is an important neighborhood in the city with a difficult social scene, so it was necessary to play sports there. Through our project, we propose to use sport as a tool to build educational bridges with a very important network of collaborations. Bari is the only city that has won two ‘Sport and Health’ projects because there has been a strong awareness of networking: together we work better.”

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.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Italy – “Redentore. Sport that re-generates smiles and life”: two years of free sports activities for over 500 young people

Salesian Missions – Italy

UNICEF – Italy Poverty