ITALY: Youth in Italy, Senegal benefit from activities
Don Bosco 2000 improves the lives of youth through oratory activities
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco 2000 in Italy is focused on welcoming migrants, helping in prisons and providing safe space in oratories, among other activities. One of the oratories supported is the Piazza Armerina Oratory, run by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The oratory operates year-round with youth able to access support with homework and recreational activities.
The oratory recently became involved in a Caritas project that put on a theatrical performance in the Enna Luigi Bodenza prison house. The play included 26 youth and inmates and was performed at the Enna’s Garibaldi Theater.
“Don Bosco’s example represents the guide for how we support and address the needs of the youngest and the neediest among our population,” said Cinzia Vella, director general of Don Bosco 2000. “It’s not just here in Italy we are helping youth but abroad too. For example, we have one special project in Veligara Pont, a village in the Tambacounda region of Senegal. We have created a new oratory there that is successful. The village chief told us that since we arrived the children are happier and they are playing the summer games and dances we taught them.”
Amara, a volunteer with Don Bosco 2000 in Senegal, said, “The oratory is a beautiful thing for us. We do so many things with the children including meetings, gatherings, training. We even hold French and Italian language courses. Every Saturday and Sunday, we have more than 50 children attending the oratory and are able to distribute snacks. Thanks to the availability of two local volunteer doctors, we also provide a dispensary for medical care that is open every day.”
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.
Poverty rose sharply in 2020 to its highest level in 15 years as the COVID-19 crisis brought economic challenges for much of the country. Close to 5.6 million people or 9.4 percent of the population are living in absolute poverty unable to buy goods or services to achieve a minimally acceptable standard of living, according to the World Bank. This number includes 1.3 million minors.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
World Bank – Italy