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To ‘entrust’ in its etymology means to preserve, watch and then give back one’s faith and knowledge. This is the case for the Cultural Foster Care, a project selected by the social enterprise Con I Bambini, in the context of the Fund for the fight against juvenile educational poverty; it started from the city of Naples, and proposes to mobilize “resource families” against educational poverty, enhancing the experience of family foster care, but declining it on the specific of the use of cultural products and services. The basic idea is very simple. A parent, who usually takes his or her children to the cinema, the theater, a museum or a bookstore, also takes a child – possibly with a member of the latter’s family – who would not enter these places for different reasons. To date, the project is active in seven Italian cities: in addition to Naples, there will be Rome, Bari, Modena, Milan, Teramo and Cagliari.
“Affido Culturale (AC)” (Cultural Foster Care) is a project selected by the social enterprise Con I Bambini, within the Fund to fight juvenile educational poverty, a phenomenon that has a thousand forms and cannot be superimposed on economic poverty. AC, in particular, wants to affect one aspect, noted by the Observatory on the subject cared by the Open Polis Foundation: only a small minority of children and young people regularly attend museums and theaters or watch quality films. The reasons for this absence of the very young from the places of culture are varied. Economic hardship is only one of the relevant factors. There are also language barriers, stories of chronic diseases behind them, but – more than anything else – a lack of awareness, on the part of parents, of the importance of these experiences for the growth of children and young people. Cultural spaces are too often seen as places reserved for a few, or they are associated with school and therefore with the sphere of duties, whereas Cultural Foster Care places them in the free time of families, that is, among the pleasures of life, to be enjoyed from a very young age.
AC proposes to mobilize, against educational poverty, “resource families”, enhancing the experience of family foster care, but declining it on the specific use of cultural products and services. The basic idea is very simple. A parent, who usually takes his or her children to the cinema, the theater, a museum or a bookstore, can also take a child – possibly with a member of the child’s family – who would not enter these places. In this way (in Naples, Rome, Bari, Modena, and also in Milan, Teramo, Cagliari thanks to new supporters such as the Municipality 8 of Milan and the Solidarity Fund of Banca Intesa) a set of shared cultural fruitions is realized, through which resource-families and recipient-families make an Educational Pact: a multidimensional overall support promoted, guaranteed and monitored by the School. The AC project fosters the Educational Pacts entrusting to resource-families a supply of “e-ducati”, a virtual currency of solidarity, which can be used to pay for tickets to places of culture that have an ad hoc agreement: cinemas, theaters, museums etc., which thus effectively join the educating community. Transactions in e-ducati move on a specially designed app, which facilitates the monitoring of activities, as well as the project fundraising.”
The leader of the Cultural Foster Care project is the Pio Monte della Misericordia. Founded in 1602 as a charitable secular institution by a group of seven young noblemen, it is one of the oldest and most active in the city of Naples. The institution is located in the monumental building of Naples which houses a seventeenth-century church where the painting of the Seven Acts of Mercy by Caravaggio is preserved.