Thanks to Hollywood, the Mafia has almost a romantic image. But for Gianluca Fiusco and his team at Servizio Cristiano, in the Sicilian town of Riesi, the Mafia is a danger they have to contend with every day.
Gianluca is the director of the small Waldensian school and health centre in the town which works with around a quarter of the town’s under 12s against a background of daily threats to staff. (The Waldensian Church is a Protestant church in Italy which has links with partner churches in Scotland through the Scottish Waldensian Society.)
Giving an insight into the daily challenges faced by staff, he explains: “They try to block our work in one of two ways. They often try to convince the people to boycott the centre; stop trading with us if they’re retailers or tell parents not to send their children to the school.
“Sometimes they are more direct – when some workers at the centre have been trying to help or support a family, they’ve been threatened; told that accidents happen; faults in the engine can cause cars to blow up, and so forth. It’s frightening – but we are doing God’s work and we will keep going as long as we are able to.”
Servizio Cristiano celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year, but is operating in deficit and is exploring new ways of raising money to support its work in Sicily.
WORKING ITS MAGIC AFTER 125 YEARS
This summer, over 200 Boys’ Brigade companies will go to camp, following in the footsteps of generations of BBs who have reaped the benefits of the outdoor life over the last 125 years.
Offering an insight into life at the camp, Colin Arthur, Captain of the 61st Edinburgh (Musselburgh) Boys’ Brigade explains: “Life at camp really encourages the boys to look out for each other. It builds a great sense of camaraderie, and they really watch out and keep each other safe.”
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16 June 2011