ITALY: Salesian missionaries launch new pizza making vocational training at Salesian oratory
(MissionNewswire) The Italian Salesian association, Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni (Small Steps, Big Dreams), has set up a new project called, “Pizzoratorio,” in Torre Annunziata, a city in Naples, Italy. Through the “Pizzoratorio” project, vocational training will be provided at the local Salesian oratory for youth to earn a professional qualification as a pizza maker. The project has already received the support of the Salesians per il Sociale (Salesians for Social) and of the Don Bosco Mondo Foundation.
“We are in a territory where there are so many difficulties, and the prospects for work are also difficult,” says Father Antonio Carbone, vice-president of the Salesians per il Sociale. “We want to do our best to ensure that no child is left out. To young people, especially the most fragile, it’s not just a job that needs to be found, they must also be educated in a way that invests in their passions.”
Thanks to the commitment of Salesian educators, youth are engaging in Salesian educational programs and finding work once they graduate. This enables them to become responsible adults and give back to their communities. The Salesians per il Sociale organization operates houses where youth are able to seek shelter and have their basic needs met while attending school.
Pasquale is one of the youth excited about the new project. His dream is to open his own pizzeria. He says, “At the beginning it was difficult to fit in, but today the community is my second family. There are eight of us in the house, the youngest is 9 years old and the oldest is 18. There are those who go to school, those who work and those like me who participate in vocational training courses.”
Pasquale adds, “One of the most beautiful things in community life is to laugh and joke with the operators, but also with the coordinators and priests who are very close to us. Every morning I go to Naples for the pizza maker’s lab, while in the afternoon I’m busy with the boys in the oratory. My dream is that of opening a pizzeria. I know it’s a very demanding and tiring job but it’s my passion!”
In Italy, young people who are unemployed and not in school or training programs represent 20 percent of the population. Vocational training is as an educational path that serves as a highly effective bridge between school and work.
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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UNICEF – Italy Poverty