COVID 19 EMERGENCY - "No House is Far Away" initiative: Psychological and Educational Support to Students from the Ragazzi Don Bosco Village and Food Assistance for Families in Need (Rome, Italy)

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Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: May 2020 - Project end date: July 2020
Project number: 2020-015
Beneficiary: Associazione Rimettere Le Ali Onlus

Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco was born in the post-war period to respond to a concrete emergency: to welcome hundreds of orphaned children, victims of the Second World War. Since 1948 the Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco has become a home, school, and a laboratory for thousands of young people at risk, and it has been carrying out an educational service for over 70 years in favor of some of the youngest needy abitants of the city of Rome. Located on the outskirts of Rome, this educational institution is close to minors and young people and especially to those who face severe social exclusion and marginalisation. Working in cooperation with the Association "Rimettere le Ali", Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco is divided into three complementary areas:

• Marginalization and Discomfort Area, which follows 150 young people aged between 14 and 20 every year, through personalized projects and various services such as:

- The Minor Reception Center, where different training workshops are held;
- The Skolè project to contrast early school leaving and offer literacy courses for foreigners who need to learn Italian;
- A foster home service welcoming Italian and foreign children reported by the local social services;
- The movement of foster and supportive families that promotes the culture of hospitality and solidarity for families who want to welcome and host a child in need;
- SosAscoltoGiovani, a psycho-pedagogical support service for young people and families in need;
- The semi-residential community, providing daytime reception of young people at risk of leaving their family of origin.

• The Oratory, where over 100 children every day spend their free time. Here, in a safe environment the Salesian youth sports club works for young people with the help of educators who provide their services completely free of charge.

• The Vocational Training Center, which offers three-year professional training courses and professional qualification certificates for children aged 14 to 18.

Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco has always looked after young people and families facing situations of social exclusion. The Covid-19 emergency has made this part of the population even more vulnerable, and has required the implementation of extraordinary measures.

In responding to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Rimettere le Ali Onlus and Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco have developed the "No House Is Far Away" initiative that aims at supporting young people and families in difficulty, reaching them virtually during this critical time, in order to provide them with educational and psychological continuous support. Through videos and tele-support, psychologists will continue to assist people and families who are forced at home because of the coronavirus emergency; educators and trainers will support children from the Don Bosco's Reception Center through easy-to-access communication platforms, initiating structured e -learning processes. The overall objective of this initiative is to provide all Borgo Don Bosco's beneficiaries with educational continuity and to be able to immidiately respond to anyone who might ask for help.

This project received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation to carry out the following extraordinary activities in response to the covid-19 crisis:

• Support for lonely young people and poor families and personalized assistance on the application and delivery of food shopping vouchers to families in need. The Ragazzi Don Bosco Village has made its own administrative staff available for printing and filling out the food voucher forms for people most in need and two operators supported by volunteers are currently available for the collection, purchase and distribution of food. About 300 assistance interventions and about 50 children and families who need basic food are expected.

• Support for third grade students - implementation of the Skolè service aimed at all students who are struggling with the conceptual map and / or the final paper required for the validation of the school year. Over 60 students will be supported.

• Helpline "Telefono Amico S.O.S. Famiglie" - activation of a 24-hour helpline for vulnerable and distressed families who require psychological and / or educational support due to the climate of uncertainty and the forced quarantine to which we are all subjected. An average of 5 calls per day are expected during the departure phase.

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