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July 23 2015 | GENOA, ITALY

A city for everyone: Genoese children and refugee children with the Youth of Sant'Egidio of Genoa #solidaritysummers

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Two hundred and fifty children of the Schools of Peace attended the holiday organised by the youth of the Community of Sant'Egidio of Genoa. About eighty students and university students livened up three shifts of a week in Massa Marittima, including games, afternoons at the beach, evenings on the beach, parties.

 The children also received some guests: a group of refugees from Afghanistan, Gambia and Nigeria - school students of  the Italian language and culture school of the community - told the journeys of hope. The children listened in absolute silence and turned to the youth a lot of questions: "who comes to our city running away from a war - said Francesco, who is ten years old - often find unpleasant people, who treat them badly. Many people are afraid and immediately think they are dangerous. We must tell all their stories, help them and welcome them!".

 With a group of elderly friends, however, the children prayed together for peace, remembering all the warring countries. Simultaneously with the prayer, the Muslim boys debated the Koran and the importance of peace in Islam, arguing the importance of the month of Ramadan to understand the lives of the poor and fight against evil in themselves: Miriam, a child of the School of Peace that returned to live in Morocco and comes to Italy in summer, to spend the holidays with her Genoese friends, said that "those that use violence in the name of God make a very serious mistake, in practice they use Islam as a mask to hide their true intentions".

The children talked together about the city where they live: about beautiful things, about the things they would like to change: "we want to commit ourselves - they wrote in a manifesto that collects the fruit of their discussions - to building a better city, where there is room for everyone, especially for those that are weaker. We would like to talk to people, because we think we have important things to say against violence and for peace, to explain that we should not judge others without knowing them. We want to go and find those that are alone and sad (the disabled, the elderly) and do a lot of parties to help people to talk each other and become friends. We could invite those that have made a long journey to escape war, so everyone can get to know them and learn not to be afraid of them. In short, we want to change the place where we live by setting a good example with our energy and our dreams. Because we are convinced that, with the commitment of all, ours can become a city for everyone".


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