ITALY: The Don Bosco Institute joins the Don Bosco Green Alliance and engages youth in community clean-up events
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Institute in Genoa, Italy, joined the Don Bosco Green Alliance, an international Salesian network that contributes to global environmental action, thought and policy. Since October 2019, the Don Bosco Institute has made specific commitments to promote the mission of the alliance. These include reducing waste production and improving its separation and recycling; raising awareness among young people who attend schools and the oratory; and leaving the Salesian center with concrete and visible actions.
The Don Bosco Institute has already held three ecological days, on Oct. 12, Nov. 16 and Dec. 12, in which youth engaged in community projects. The first ecological day brought together 50 youth, most of whom are part of the local community of unaccompanied foreign minors along with several students who are taking vocational training courses.
The young volunteers received overalls, gloves, masks and cleaning tools from AMIU, the company that deals with the collection and management of waste in Genoa. AMIU partnered with the Salesian youth to provide materials used in the project and select the gardens near the train station as the first clean-up project.
Divided into two groups and coordinated by a supervisor, youth started their work with enthusiasm, discovering a lot of waste and becoming upset about the poor behavior of people who litter so much. They filled dozens of garbage bags full of trash.
On Nov. 16, nearly 60 youth came together to clean up the Castagna cemetery. The youth garnered the positive attention of those visiting the cemetery. A few days after the third clean-up activity in December, Mayor Marco Bucci and Deputy Mayor Stefano Balleari awarded all the boys and girls for their efforts. Additional ecological days are scheduled for 2020, the first of which was Jan. 18.
“The ecological days are something that we want to continue and that we would like to become a reference model,” said Father Maurizio Verlezza, director of the Don Bosco Institute. “We care about the city, but above all, we care about young people who can grow and bring with them wherever they will go this sensitivity and this respect for the city in which they live.”
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.
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.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
UNICEF – Italy Poverty