“Last year a two year old girl who is quite dear to me almost lost her life. I thought that because she had been born here, she was immediately given every medical cure and surgery. But what if she had been born in a country with less resources, how would it have gone for her? And why should she have had the good fortune of living here? Do other children not have the same right?” Thus Gabriella got to work organising a fundraising project for disadvantaged children, asking the Mayor for a public space on the main square of her town, Marcignago di Pavia, Italy. She also involved the Parish, the Diocese and the local press. “How will it turn out, I dont’know,” she admits, “I know why and for whom I’m doing this, and the only thing I can do is hope for the best!”
This is but one of the many testimonies of supporters who have become involved in the #obiettivo15mila campaign of the New Families Association begun on May 24 in Rome, Italy, at the Città dell’Altra Economia. “The goal” – Association president Andrea Turatti explains – is to “give visibility to what we are already doing through on-going projects in 50 countries, and to expand our involvement, by involving others in projects of solidarity.”
Solidarity projects have multiplied in many Italian cities and in several social projects that are underway around the world. With internet link-ups they have been able to present their activities: surgical clinics, nursery schools, primary schools and after-school programmes, through which children and teens receive adequate nourishment and medical care, scholastic assistance and other professional services. These programmes are inserted in wider interventions, in cooperation with national and international partnerships in favor of families and entire communities until they are able to be autonomous, and in favour of the well-being of children worldwide.
“We would also like to contribute to the solidarity,” said Youn Vera who, thanks to the distance support is now attending the second year of secondary school at the Collegio Gue Pascal of Man, on the Ivory Coast. “To help out four classmates who were ill and in need of medical care, we had the idea of a garden where we could grow salad and spinach.”
“Distance support is a project that does much direct good for us, not only to the ones who receive, but because it makes you grow, it puts you in contact with different people and cultures, it helps you to discover the value of sobriety and creates community,” said Vincenzo Curatolo, president of the Sad Forum which joins hundreds of associations in Italy. One example is Guido and Azzurra who together with other teenagers from the Roman quarter, tell how they have founded an association that has been operating for nearly two years, in which they carry out several activities in favour of others. The most beautiful experience has been in the Philippines, responding to the emergency in the aftermath of hurricane Hayan. Hosted by the Focolare and in cooperation with the New Families non-Profit Association they went into several barrios on the peripheries of several cities and touched with their own hands what previously had seen so distant from their daily lives and could only be seen on television. Living them out in daily life, really changed our way of thinking. Then we wanted to make a long-term commitment in supporting a girl in a wheelchair: Princess, with her sunshine smile.”
Giusy, from near Pisa, Italy, tells of how one group of Focolare New Families slowly got the whole area involved, the municipal council and some 300 families. “The project was begun by me and my colleague, twenty years ago,” says Massimo Grossi of the RCS Corriere della Sera, and it has involved more than 250 journalists and printing services. Thanks to many small donations, we received 50 distance supporters for children in Africa and Asia; many small contributions that united together: this is our spirit and our strength.”