ITALY: Salesian missionaries involve entire community to fight educational poverty
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Italy are holding events to focus on their “Give more to those who have had less” initiative, which works with 3,000 youth. The goal of the initiative is to fight educational poverty by involving all members of the community.
At the halfway point of the initiative, events and seminars are being organized in all local offices to present the local project, the activities carried out and the prospects for the final period. To date, 57 partners, including nonprofit organizations, local authorities and schools, 14 implementation sites, and more than 80 committed operators, are working together.
The first public event took place in Trapani with the attendance of school staff, staff from the city’s social service and Father Giovanni D’Andrea, Provincial of the Salesians in Sicily. The meeting was coordinated by the local team and the national project manager, Andrea Sebastiani. It also featured the involvement of children, teachers and parents.
A second level of the project was working as a network with the various educational agencies in the territory. Participatory courses were developed at each location to identify educational challenges and objectives of the various territories and age groups of youth.
The third level of intervention concerned adolescents directly. “In the operational offices, training courses have been activated in high schools that have, as their aim, to work on self-esteem, motivation and aggregation through sports, creative and artistic and digital activities and support to studying,” said Roberto Maurizio, scientific manager of the project.
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.
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.
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