ITALY: Salesian missionaries hold first international meeting and expo for Salesian agriculture schools around the globe
(MissionNewswire) The first international meeting of Salesian agricultural schools, titled Expo Lombriasco 2019, took place in the commune of Lombriasco in the city of Turin, Italy. The event featured an AgriCultura International Exhibition that fostered sharing, formation, Salesian spirituality and the development of common projects.
Eight Salesian schools attended including three from Argentina and one each from Ireland, Albania, France and Ghana. In total, there were 22 students accompanied by seven professors from these countries. In addition, teachers and students from the Lombriasco Institute and representatives of the Salesian-run International Volunteer Service for Development (VIS), who cooperate in agricultural projects in Albania and Ghana, also attended.
Each school delegation presented its own activities, illustrating an active project dedicated to the agricultural, agro-industrial or agribusiness sectors. The theme for these projects included innovation, sustainability and social agriculture. At the end of the expo, diplomas and scholarships were awarded to the best three projects. Taking first place was the Salesian Agriculture School from Sunyani, Ghana, for the cultivation of vegetables in innovative greenhouses.
The expo also featured forums, conferences and in-depth workshops including the cultivation of bamboo to fish, insects as feed and the new frontiers of agriculture. Collaboration between local businesses and the Salesian schools was also highlighted.
On the last day, the Net4Grow project, created by the Salesian School of Lombriasco, was presented. This project is a network of Salesian agricultural schools around the globe, past pupils, companies and professionals in the sector that aims to preserve and develop agricultural vocational training and generate shared local development projects. Given the success of the first international expo, Salesian missionaries are already planning the next for October 2020.
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 work and school.
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