The Community of Sant’Egidio and Youth for Peace are promoting a project to help children, especially those belonging to migrants families.
The lockdown hasn’t been easy for kids stuck at home, especially if they live in fragile family environments that have seen tensions rise because of the quarantine.
Many are anxious to go back to school to be with their friends and learn new things. That’s part of the experience at the summer schools being run by the Community of Sant’Egidio and Youth for Peace.
“The first thing the kids said was, ‘Finally! We couldn’t wait! We’re so happy! It’s so good to be here!’ One seven-year-old girl told us, ‘Thank you for freeing me from my prison.’ She lives in a tiny house, sharing a single room with pretty much the whole family. Returning to school was the liberation from a dark, sad period.”
Many children of migrants had nearly forgotten how to speak Italian. At first, they had trouble communicating with their friends.
“I think about two Syrian children who arrived with the last humanitarian corridor in January. They were enrolled in school, they had started to speak some Italian, but then the school shut down. During their time at summer school, they’ve started speaking Italian again, and they’re very happy.”
The closing of schools left a huge gap for them. It’s one of the reasons many high school and university students responded to the invitation to give lessons to the kids to help them make up for lost time.
“There are kids of all nationalities. There are Italian kids, among them children with special learning needs or with disabilities. The children with Down syndrome have shown a strong desire to study.”
Moreover, through games, they learn how to prevent coronavirus contagion and be able to safely participate in the different activities.
Activities are held in ventilated areas. Outdoor activities are carried out whenever possible. The children frequently disinfect their hands, they’re required to wear face masks, and each one is given a bag to carry their stuff.