The sound of the telephone suddenly interrupts the deaf silence of my room. I lazily let it ring for a second. It is just long enough to catch sight of the first drops of autumn rain noisily splash against the glass of my window like flies drawn to the light of a summer street lamp. On the other end of the line two voices cordially wish me good morning—and certainly a good morning it is, because I am now talking with people who dedicate their lives to others without asking for anything in return. These two people areMrs. Rosanna De Lucia and her daughter Mariangela Affinita, of the Angelo Affinita Foundation .
I have before me a page of questions that I printed off the night before but I decide for once to improvise instead. I don't want to conduct an interview as I have done so many times before, but instead to have a true dialogue in order to understand what drives people to give themselves daily for the good of others thousands of kilometers away from their own home, without even knowing them and probably, will never even meet them either. And so I begin, initially with a soft and timid voice, taking cue from two Angelo Affinita phrases that I read the night before. Great literature.
"The agency is a social good" and "it is the man that makes a difference". These are the words of Angelo Affinita. They are phrases that express his humanity and vision. Tell me, who was Angelo Affinita and how was the idea for his foundation born.
Angelo Affinita was a man who, first as an entrepreneur, loved to put people in the center of his life's projects. This social vision of his was always present in his mind whether it be at home with family and friends, or in the agency with his associates. Not forgetting his message, we wanted to create a foundation in his memory. In this way we continue his work of solidarity and social assistance keeping always in mind his great human experience.
Is there a project underway for media education to help adolescents become familiar with and know how to deal with new problems that should not be underestimated such as cyberbullying, gambling and video game addictions?
We understand very well all of these problems that, you're right, should absolutely not be underestimated. It is spoken of too little, but certainly cyberbullying, gambling and video game addictions are new sicknesses of this millennium. It has created the need for a culture that knows how to defend against pitfalls, dangers, and disturbances that dependencies cause, without demonizing new technology which are of great use in daily life. As a foundation we do not yet have a project in the works for this issue, but we do not exclude it from our work of the near future.
But we think that, with the help of specific courses and consultations with experts and psychologists in this field, the presence and education of the family is very important. A mother that follows her own children, teaching them at have a clear and appropriate relationship with technology will be a thousand times more effective than even numerous courses.
What we would like to do concretely is to produce and diffuse across all disposable platforms of video, positive messages on the family in order to promote just behaviors. For example, the togetherness of the family gathered around the table at dinner time.
In regards to the family being the center of your solidarity initiative, what are your current projects underway and future initiatives?
The family, but in particular children, are always the center of our solidarity initiative, particularly the children most needy and disadvantaged. Among all our initiatives, one in particular that we want to remember at the heart of our work is support for Brazilian children from impoverished towns, recovered off the street by death squads and assisted and raised by Padre Renato Cheira, founder of "House of Minors" in Rio de Janeiro. A reality truly dramatic that from here in Italy we cannot at least distantly imagine. We have constructed the "Family House" directly coordinating with Fr. Renato Chiera accepting children off the street and aiding their maintenance and development through sponsorship of children far away. It was our first initiative, which we have decided to continue following over time. Among the other projects we are going forth with, we are pleased to remember Ruth Home, a house for young migrant women, with or without children, that have fled situations of great difficulty and exploitation in their own countries. A new initiative is When grown up I’ll be. A project where we want to promote character and skills development among youth and minors who demonstrate particular learning aptitude, but are limited by disadvantaged economic conditions. Another initiative the we would like to remember is Creattiva (Creativity). With Creattiva we aim to rehabilitate detained juveniles and offer them support from a perspective of reinsertion into society thanks to the help of competent professionals. Finally, the project MammutBus, aimed to small children and youth of Naples, which favors integration between different neighborhoods of the city through games. It is also a unique and playful way to develop formation and work opportunities. Behind this project there is a strong awareness of territory and disadvantaged children changing the world . Playing.
How is your foundation sustained?
On our website http://fondazioneangeloaffinita.org/sostenitori/ you can find all the information. Thanks to the contributions of everyone who would like to give, we will finance concrete projects in favor of instruction and employment of many children in disadvantaged conditions.
To conclude, among the avalanches of daily emails, Facebook notifications, and WhatsApp messages, perhaps it is worth it every now and then to take a moment, turn off the telephone and think about what is truly necessary and what is not. What are your good digital advice?
Good question. Personally not to abuse digital technology. We aim to always be attentive and clear about our use of cell phones and the internet Common sense and balance to put the devices to our service and not vice versa is much needed. If we were to give practical advice, our digital proposition would be this: to not handle too many messages that come in from groups on WhatsApp. Especially if the group is numerous, a person can receive one hundred messages and notifications throughout the course of the day. So in these cases it is worth it to say and underline the need to stop ourselves a moment, block this avalanche of messages or turn off the telephone directly and put our thoughts elsewhere.