THE SCHOOLS OF PEACE IN EUROPE
In Europe: the response to "baby gang"
The Schools of Peace in Europe are there to support children who experience difficulties living in large urban suburbs. They are often attracted by violence or influenced by misleading connections; growing in problematic family environments, at times they experience emotional and economical deprivation. It can be the case of children of immigrants with integration issues.
From Rome and Barcelona to Antwerp, from Paris to Wurzburg. Everywhere the Schools of Peace are helping children to grow. They prevent school drop-out and promote their full inclusion in the society. The Schools of Peace are the concrete response to the youth discomfort - typical in the western world with the highest rate of wealth and development - which can break out into an increase of deviance and baby-gangs.
News about minors getting involved in small scale crime are becoming frequent. In fact, there is a lack of common values and proposals for the youngsters. An emptiness perhaps filled by video-games, television, computers, consumerism and fashions thanks to the advertising industry. Overcoming this emptiness is one of the challenges we feel the most. For this reason the Schools of Peace are developed as places where children and teens can experience positive emotions, throughout a specific pedagogy, and acquire those pivotal values forming their personality. To learn how to open up to others, playing with peers and writing letters to distant friends in a non-scholastic but very effective way, all of this builds a sense of solidarity and care for the others. It also stimulates both the knowledge of the world and the commitment for justice. Unlikely what people usually believe, knowing situations of injustice - both close and distant - helps children to develop feelings of commitment in the very early stages. Kids - and teenagers even more - like to take on continuing and loving responsibilities for everything (situations, people, etc.) that needs care and attention. Respect for everyone, especially for those in need, is one of the educational values the Schools of Peace are committed to communicate to children and adolescents. To have the sense of the other person (like a refugee or an homeless) in its own diversity, knowing his/her story, understanding the difficulties and recognizing their values builds a new attitude in our children. In this way they are freed from a narrow and often intolerant cultural environments. In such an educational and emotional context - this is our experience - children rediscover the certainty of an affective point of reference: like a guide directing the consolidation of their personality while fully enhancing his/her human and cultural capabilities. In this way they find the power to avoid the risks of marginalization sometimes lying ahead of them.
In the Schools of Peace we welcome children with different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, together with Roma and Sinti children. Particularly in Italy and Spain, for the Roma and Sinti children, the School of Peace is the very place of growth as it encourages their integration through:
- School-inclusion support
- Health and Food Education
- Family support
- Permanent residency support