Terni, Italy: Inauguration of the Peace Bulletin Board: “Free to dream. Free to grow.”
On Saturday, 4 March, a peace bulletin board, created by Ukrainian children attending the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul’s Emporio Bimbi together with the children of other nationalities and young Vincentians, was inaugurated at the Ciaurro Park in Terni, Italy.
The bulletin board, the result of the project “Free to dream. Free to grow,” is a double-sided metal structure measuring 180×120 cm, designed with the outline of the map of Ukraine on which ceramic tiles are placed, to commemorate the welcome of the young refugees and their mothers in Terni, and above all, in memory of all children, victims of war and violence.
The project is included in the ” Collaboration Agreement” with the Municipality of Terni and is part of the 2023 Valentine’s Day event “Saint Valentine, Witness of Love”; it was carried out with the work of Marò ceramics of Terni.
The inauguration was attended by Bishop Francesco Antonio Soddu, Terni Mayor Leonardo Latini, Councilor for Welfare Cristiano Ceccotti, President of the Terni Central Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Roberto Reale, Emporio Bimbi Coordinator Antonella Catanzani, and a member of the Executive Board of the Italian National Federation of Saint Vincent De Paul Society ODV Monica Galdo; the actor Stefano de Majo presented a performance “St. Valentine, Witness of Peace and Love” and Adriano Marinensi gave a testimony on the Second World War in Terni, enriched with songs and dances from various nations; he also animated the games and workshops for children.
Emporio Bimbi Coordinator Antonella Catanzani recalls that “with the arrival in March last year of Ukrainian families fleeing the war, composed mainly of mothers with children, the Conferences of the Terni Central Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with various Conferences present in the territory of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, promptly took action, giving material and emotional support to make them feel less the burden of war and of having to leave loved ones thousands of kilometers away.
“The children who arrived at the Emporio have experienced a sense of well-being, if only for the fact that the facility is brightly colored and full of games, and is also a favorable environment for any educational activity. The presence of other children of the same age and of various nationalities was a stimulus to make new friends while learning. This gave rise to the idea of a ceramic painting workshop, aimed at making tiles created and painted by Ukrainian children. Working with clay that comes from Ukraine makes the children feel close to their homeland and strengthens in others who interact with them in the project the feeling of sharing the bond that everyone has with their homeland.”
In the context of the Ukrainian emergency, Emporio Bimbi assisted 117 refugee children (0-14 years of age) and continues to this day to welcome many of these children, offering a space where they can socialize, express themselves, enjoy games, have snacks, share experiences, and draw to express their feelings.
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