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Italy – Bridge between Sicily and Senegal: with "Missionary childhood", built by children
(ANS – Gela) – A group of forty children between 4 and 7 years of age, together with their catechists and animators and a young Salesian, have worked to fulfill a dream: to build a bridge between Sicily and Senegal. Thus, from the need to explain to children the value of acceptance and support, the “Missionary Childhood” project was born.
Thanks to the collaboration with the association “Don Bosco 2000” which also operates in Senegal, Fr Alfredo Calderoni, a young Salesian active in the Oratory of Gela, gave rise to a program involving animators and catechists, children and their families from February to May.
“Every month,” he explains, “we chose a theme, starting from charity, and then we concretely made small objects by recycling material brought from home. The meetings always started with a little formation, then we moved on to the activity. Every month we collected money from their savings and sent it to Senegal to buy school kits.”
The project ended May 24, the solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, with a show and the feast of peoples. “We involved the adults, starting with the little ones: showing them that the savings collected here actually made something in Senegal made it easier to have their trust,” says Fr Calderoni.
From this project the “mini grest” was also born, a mini-summer camp dedicated to children and above all, the “bridge” built at the oratory brought fruits, which in turn became contagious. “A school near us,” the Salesian continues, “once we saw the photos, videos and drawings they sent us from Senegal to thank us, wanted to raise funds during the year-end show and send the money to Senegal through ‘Don Bosco 2000’.”
“We have laid the foundations to build a bridge and to start a project that will surely continue,” concludes Fr Calderoni.