On the occasion of the International Day for the Rights of Children and Adolescents, on 16 November we inaugurated the first House of Smile in Italy in Bari, in the San Paolo district, bringing to our country the experience gained by CESVI in the rest of the world in the protection of the fundamental rights of minors.
It is a multifunctional space that combines psychological support, listening and orientation, parenting support, sporting and recreational activities, contrasting educational poverty.
Amadeus, a strong supporter of the project, also took part in the ribbon cutting after the guests of the show ‘I usual ignoti’ he hosted on Rai1 allocated 500 thousand euros, the collection of the winnings of December 2021 and the first week of January 2022 to our projects against child abuse in Italy.
Thanks also to these funds, we have intensified our activities to prevent and combat educational poverty, neglect and abuse in Italy. The Houses of Smiles, 7 in the rest of the world (in Brazil, Haiti, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Peru) and 5 planned in Italy, of which the one in Bari is the forerunner, are places of protection and offer programs dedicated to childhood and to people who go through situations of fragility, in contexts of poverty and in the degraded suburbs of big cities. Puglia, according to the Regional Index on Child Abuse in Italy edited by the CESVI Foundation, is among the Regions where the risk is greatest and in the Casa del Sorriso in Bari our operators work every day to alleviate these difficulties.
The House of Smile program rests on three pillars: equity, empowerment and protection. Equity because we want to strengthen equal access to educational, cultural and recreational opportunities; empowerment because with the Houses we want to create spaces for listening and participation, strengthening the agency capacity of boys and girls and supporting the construction of an educating community in the area; and finally protection because we launch services and activities that prevent and combat all forms of violence against minors.
In Bari we at CESVI collaborate with the John Paul II Onlus Foundation. The Casa del Sorriso in the San Paolo district is a multifunctional space, also co-designed together with the Reggio Children Foundation to adapt it to the specific needs of the context, enhancing its uniqueness and experience. Here, boys and girls and their families find psychological support, listening and guidance, parenting support, the fight against educational poverty and sporting and recreational activities, such as educational, expressive and recreational workshops. So far, 460 people, mainly children and young people, have been involved, thanks to the tireless work of psychologists, social workers and educators.
The inauguration took place at the John Paul II Foundation and included the presence of Roberto Vignola, Deputy Director General, and Alberto Barenghi, Italy Project Manager, of CESVI, as well as a video link from Amadeus.
Stay alongside CESVI in this courageous project and support new openings of Case del Sorriso in Italy!