In this article we will talk about the association “Il Seme”/Caritas of Senigallia, where right now there are four European Solidarity Corps volunteers.
Let’s find out more about the city of Senigallia and about the association per se.
Senigallia is a city on the coast of Marche and it is located between Pesaro and Ancona. It is famous for its beaches, nonetheless it is addressed as “ the city of the velvet beaches’, for the clearness of the waters with a European Blue Flag, it is the typical sea city that can be appreciated during winter and summer. It is mostly famous for its “round terrace above the sea” , an existing building suspended above the clear water of the sea that inspired the famous song “Una rotonda sul mare” by the Italian singer Fred Bongusto.
During summer the city is animated with tourism and festivals: the most famous one is Summer Jamboree where you can live again the myth of the ‘50s, with vintage cars, people dressed up like those years, a wonderful atmosphere. So, Senigallia is a lively city that is surprising and welcoming.
Caritas association is part of the pastoral and clerical organism of the Catholic church and it promotes Christian charity.
The goal of the association is to build a community that will be characterized by charity towards the others, to know the situation about poverty being on the territory, promoting new initiatives to sustain the emergent needs of the local community, to raise awareness in the community to live in a more sharing style and finally to think about projects to prevent the causes of the majority of the damages already happening.
The Caritas association of Senigallia was founded on the 1st of July 2008 to start working for real in February 2009. Since then the association has been more and more rooted inside the local community, with various activities involving volunteers coming as from the civil service as from the European Solidarity Corp programme.
This year, the association is hosting four girls as volunteers of the ESC project and it is also thanks to them that we can share with you some activities that the volunteers are doing inside the association itself.
The volunteers are usually involved in the following contexts:
- in the Solidarity center, where people in need are welcomed so that they can get medical support, complete meals from breakfast to dinner;
- in the Listening center, concerning the search for a new job or a new place to stay
- in the San Benedetto House, where women and their children are hosted, in particular the ones that fled their countries
Between the European volunteers, one offered herself as the voice of the group, that is to say Nora from Germany. Let’s listen directly from her words how the experience inside the association is going:
“My volunteering service is divided into two main projects inside the association. I always change between projects, sometimes within a day. It depends on where we are needed the most.
I’m usually involved in Centro di Solidarietà: it is a facility that can be compared to a First Aid for people in need. It hosts people that need temporary accommodation and it also covers the daily needs of homeless people and supports people in finding a job or a flat.
My main task there is to manage the laundry. This is the place where the clothes of the guests are being washed and where homeless people come in order to take a shower and get new clothes. I like this activity a lot, because I have a lot of responsibility and over the time I built a personal connection to the homeless people that return every week. Depending on the person that comes, it can also be quite challenging and I had to learn to be very confident and clear in my way of communicating. Sometimes, I have the breakfast or dinner shift. The breakfast shift means that I come early in the morning to prepare breakfast for the people that are accommodated in the Centro. During the dinner shifts I support the cooks in the kitchen and serve the food. I like being around long-term guests, because we know each other pretty well by now and most of them are very warm and friendly. They have very different backgrounds. Some of them are elderly people without a place in an elderly home. Some others are refugees or people with psychological conditions.
Another task in the Centro is assisting in the Centro di ascolto. People that have a specific needs, like finding a job or a flat, come here in order to talk to the workers from Caritas. Then they try to find a solution. I support the staff in registering new people in the system, doing copies, but also helping with translations when people speak only English. I like working there because it is very interesting to hear the different stories of the people. Sometimes it can be frustrating because Caritas cannot always help everyone. One time there was a family with three young children that had already slept on the street for three nights in a row, but there were no free rooms left in the Centro, so they could only transmit them to another city.
In Casa San Benedetto: this is a house with flats for mothers with their children that experienced violence in the past and often had to flee from their countries. Our job is to take care of the children several times a week, while the mothers work or go to a language course. Within the past six months, we built a strong connection to the children which are between two to eight years old. It is very nice to see them grow older and develop their personalities.
Caritas always adapts their projects to recent problems or events. That means that there are periods where we have special projects. Last week we helped renovate a former hotel which can now be used as an accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. This project felt very meaningful and that is what I like in general about my vlunteering project at Caritas.
The activities are very diversified and always responding to actual needs. Especially since I can speak Italian a bit better, I feel very integrated and useful. It is an enriching experience to be able to get to know so many different aspects of social work”.