ITALY: Salesian missionaries in Torre Annunziata launch new initiatives to ensure youth have access to education
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Torre Annunziata, a city in Naples, Italy, have launched two initiatives recently to help poor youth in need of education. The first is Casa Valdocco, a day center for youth aged 6-18 years who need a less traditional educational environment. The second initiative is a new workshop as part of the “Pizzoratorio” project launched earlier this year in May.
Casa Valdocco can accommodate 30 children who will be assisted by specialized educators throughout the day until the evening when the children return home. The typical day begins with sharing meals, then time for study with children grouped by educational levels, followed by workshops and sports, and later in the day psychological support. Family mediation is also provided. This program helps to ensure that youth have the extra support required for them to gain an education.
In May 2019, the Italian Salesian association, Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni (Small Steps, Big Dreams), set up the new “Pizzoratorio” project to provide vocational training for youth to earn professional qualification as pizza makers. The project has already received the support of the Salesians per il Sociale (Salesians for Social) and of the Don Bosco Mondo Foundation.
The “Mani in Pasta” (hands in the dough) workshop will be held at the Salesian oratory where youth have access to a modern oven. This first workshop will train 30 youth aged 14-21 who live in the Salesian Mamma Matilde and Peppino Brancati houses. Later, the workshop will be expanded to provide education to the boys attending the oratory. The students in the course will obtain a qualification certificate recognized by the Campania region upon graduating.
“With the ‘Mani in Pasta’ pizza-maker workshop, we want to teach a trade to all those children welcomed in our family homes or in the oratory who have had less from life,” says Father Antonio Carbone, vice-president of the Salesians per il Sociale.
He adds, “We are in a territory where there are so many difficulties and the prospects for work and commitment are also difficult. Every day our goal is to take the young off the street. We will save them from clans, thanks to a gastronomic workshop that will teach them to cook and bake pizzas. And thanks to this qualification, they will be able to find an honest job.”
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