The Center of Compassion for Children
The creation of a comprehensive environments in which children’s tragic experiences become only distant memories and where hurt and hatred are replaced with skills and attitudes which fulfill their natural desire for peace and community.
A Center of Compassion for Children is a place where children from war-torn countries, refugee camps, and other harmful situations can be safely housed and nurtured receiving:
During the 2003 protests against plans for a radioactive material storage site in Scanzano Jonico, Basilicata, Betty Williams spoke out in favour of an alternative use for the land.
In 2004, the Basilicata Regional Authorities carried out a feasibility study to investigate the sustainability of the proposed scheme. In addition to its significant humanitarian objectives, this innovative initiative also presents the people of Basilicata with a new opportunity for economic and social development. It combines solidarity with development, and accommodation with local sustainability.
Thanks to decisive support from Basilicata’s President De Filippo, in 2007 the Regional Authorities put together a Framework Programme Agreement to finance the project named “Creation of the City of Peace in Basilicata”.
In September 2009, agreements were made with the Sant’Arcangelo and Scanzano Jonico Town Councils for the construction of the infrastructure needed for the accommodation facilities and contractors were hired to carry out the work.
In order to ensure that the facilities were managed efficiently, the “City of Peace for Children in Basilicata Foundation” was established by the regional authorities, WCCC International, WCCC Italy and the Sant’Arcangelo and Scanzano Jonico town councils. The Memorandum and Articles of Association were signed in June 2009 and in January 2010 the Foundation was recognized by law as a legal person.
In October 2011, Sant’Arcangelo town council handed over the first housing units to the Foundation. The Foundation started the accommodation services from the February 2012.
Now in Sant’Arcangelo the Foundation hosts 3 families of refugees with 11 hosts: 5 children and 6 adults coming from the Mediterranean Middle Est and from the West Africa.
Before the end of 2012 the number of the hosts has doubled and at the beginning of 2013 30 refugees are hosted.
"Instead of this land being used as a dump for nuclear waste, it is being transformed into a city of peace. What a wonderful idea? In this part of Italy and in this part of the world, this project will be like a seed of peace. We need to plant such seeds elsewhere. This is the beginning of a way to create a happier world, something that cannot be done by passing a UN resolution, but by ordinary people becoming involved, by bringing up children to be peaceful, and equipped for peace. Our need is to eliminate anger, not in some future life, but here and now in this very life. Let us try to build a more peaceful world."