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April 8 2014

Good news from Naples on the integration of the Roma and the Sinti in Italy

On the occasion of the International Day Sant'Egidio offers data and ideas: the importance of school

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NAPLES - Data, proposals and "good news", the result of experience and friendship of the Community of Sant'Egidio with the Roma and the Sinti in Italy, were presented in Naples, a city of coexistence and integration but also a city of contradictions and episodes of intolerance, at a press conference on the eve of the international Day dedicated by the United Nations to this people, still a victim of discrimination and humiliation. Accepting the invitation of European Commissioner Vivian Reading, who in recent days had pointed out "some small miracles" for the integration of the Roma, eloquent examples were presented of how it is possible to live positively together with the Roma and the Sinti.

In presenting the results of the programme "Right to school, right to the future" for the education of Roma children, Daniela Pompei, national head of the Immigration and the Roma Service of the Community of Sant'Egidio, explained the success of the more than 200 children that participate in the programme, including Rome, Milan and Naples. 84% of the children participating in the project attend school, while in the whole of Italy only 11,000 children regularly go to primary school and 107 go to secondary school. "The programme - said Daniela Pompei - has the aim to encourage regular school attendance of the Roma pupils, preventing the involvement of children in begging; and aims to educate about the coexistence of different people". "The Roma are a young people - concluded the head of Sant'Egidio – this is the reason why the integration must necessarily pass through the school".

Paolo Ciani spoke about the legal status and the presence of the Roma in Europe and in Italy, a complex and articulated world so often represented with a certain simplification and trivialization. Between 6 and 7 million in Europe, the Roma are the largest minority, often without a State of reference.

A particular focus has been devoted to the experiences of Naples and Milan. In the Neapolitan capital since 2008 there has been a free medical clinic, now present in the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Cupa Coal, near the airport of Capodichino. In 6 years of experience - said Salvatore Esposito of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Naples - there were more than 6,000 visits, of which 80 % of children, with an average of nearly 100 visits per month. Stefano Pasta told about the experience in Milan, with the phenomenon of forced evictions of the camps, which only causes a shift of the problem and creates a huge inconvenience to the children, suddenly forced to leave school, and families. They cited a significant and paradoxical example of a child that had suffered as many as 20 evictions in a few years.

Finally, there was also talk of the right to sport of Roma children that attend the project "Sport without borders”.One way to use sport as a tool for inclusion, prevention and psychophysical well-being.

A lot of small good news that represent replicable proposals and experiences, which can lead to prospects of hope and concrete paths of true integration.


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