Support to 250 Families of the Centre Nando Peretti Roma Sud (formerly Laurentino 38) Housing Estate of Rome

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2003 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2003-34
Beneficiary: SMOM

Final Report 2004/2005


A relationship of friendship, almost of complicity has now been established with the inhabitants of Laurentino 38 yet aid coming from the volunteers is never enough to cover the many needs of the disadvantaged families.
This year the volunteers of the Order of Malta came to help around 500 people with food packages, diapers, medicines and other basic necessity goods. The food parcels, regularly distributed to families deemed most in need, this year reached the number of 118, despite calls were much more numerous. Volunteers had to choose those families that had more serious needs.
A particularly difficult problem is rent, which often is not paid for several consecutive months. In addition, companies that owned the houses in the neighborhood have sold the apartments and many tenants cannot afford to pay the price, thus risking eviction. In many cases, volunteers have had to intervene economically, paying overdue rents, to prevent tenants from incurring serious debt problems.
The volunteers also had to face the expense of payment of utility bills for electricity, telephone, gas etc. for families who could not do so alone.
In some occasions, particular requests for help were met. For example, funeral costs were paid for a family who lost a son, leaving his wife and two children in difficult conditions. In another case, dentist fees were paid for a lady in her early thirties, who had only the front teeth left.
Significant help to many families in difficulty came in the form of renovations to make homes livable. Many houses are illegally occupied by residents. In some apartments there wasn't even glass on windows, which was replaced with plastic sheeting. In other apartments bathrooms have been renovated, which were in dilapidated conditions. In other apartments, the doors to the rooms were missing, and have been installed.
Another important aid was the payment of medical and pharmacy costs for many elderly residents in poor health. Many residents also suffer from psychological illnesses such as depression, often due to the economic problems they have to face daily. For this reason, doctors often prescribe them a large number of drugs.
The summer center for children from 3 to 14 years was held for seven weeks, from June 16 to July 30, 2004, and has seen an average attendance of thirty-six children per day. The center's activities, led by leaders of the Oratory and the Cooperative Living Together, were held at the Parish of St. Mauro Abate, which has made its premises available including a large soccer field and a large room used as a theater.
The Educators of the Summer Centre have established a good relationship with their families - through weekly meetings - and together they have set out a common line of educational intervention, in order not to lose the work done during the hours spent in the center. Families have noticed changes in the daily life behavior of their children at home and have informed the educators. Even in respect of educators, there was a marked change. The initial arrogance of the boys, characterized by frequent raises of their voice and unhelpful behavior, in time has given way to a more obedient behavior with the use of dialogue instead of violence, and the use of a more appropriate and less obscene language and more cooperation.
The activities organized by the center were of two types. Laboratory activities, including drawing, painting, paper work, etc. with the aim to develop the boys and girls' specific skills, giving them a chance to expand their imagination and have fun with different materials. The children were followed by an art teacher, who taught them various techniques using materials such as wood, salt dough, wool and fabrics. Among the laboratories of expression, there was the drama workshop, the dance lab, and a singing workshop.
Recreational activities instead are essentially a physical and mental relief, which include learning the rules. In addition to daily sports, every week the boys and girls were brought to the pool. Trips to the Zoo were also organized, in addition to the Children's Museum, the orange garden and the garden of the Grand Priory of the Order.
For older children a trip by coach was organized to Andalusia (Spain) from August 24 to September 3, 2004.

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