Putting a smile back on children's faces
The Lombardy region of Italy gained unfortunate notoriety in spring 2020 when it became the first European epicentre of the coronavirus crisis. Images of overcrowded intensive care units and exhausted doctors shocked the world. But the area around Bergamo implemented consistent countermeasures to contain the virus and the disciplined and responsible behaviour of the locals soon became a template for Europe and received global recognition and support.
As a company that is active internationally, Polytan wanted to send out a signal of European solidarity and sympathy to the people of Bergamo. We turned to Cesvi, an aid organization committed to sustainable development, environmental protection, combating child mistreatment and abuse, famine, and promoting human rights and achieving their ambitions worldwide. Cesvi, which was founded in Bergamo and therefore has a close connection to the area, has also recognised the need to take action locally. Cesvi operates a national child protection programme in Italy aimed at protecting vulnerable children and teenagers from abuse and neglect – issues that tend to become exacerbated during social and economic crises.
To support this programme in Bergamo, we started a donation project with Cesvi that led to the installation of a mini pitch in a “Solidarity Village” in the municipality of Lurano.
A range of support services for young people with disabilities, disadvantaged youth, and single parents with children are provided at the Solidarity Village, including housing and employment opportunities. As part of their work, Cesvi and its partner Consorzio FA promote the well-being of vulnerable children using sport as a tool for development, social inclusion and personal growth.
Our inspiration was to give a little joy back to the people of this region while reinforcing the idea of European solidarity in times of crisis. The mini pitch was installed on an existing basketball court that was already predominantly being used for playing football.
“We are extremely grateful for the solidarity and kindness of Polytan GmbH,” Cesvi says. “The company has been close to us and to our town in one of the darkest moments in its history and especially close to the children of our territory, who now once again have a chance to do what children do best: smile.”
The mini pitch has yet to be officially inaugurated due to the pandemic, but all of us at Polytan look forward to the day when it will be fully utilized by the children of Bergamo, giving them the pleasure they have been deprived of this year.