SERMIG, A STORY OF OPENNESS
The story of Sermig is about dialogue, hospitality and faith. It is made of many different faces and ideals that, for the first time ever, allowed the transformation of a military arsenal into a place of peace.
It all started in 1964 in Turin, thanks to Ernesto Olivero, his wife Maria and a group of young people committed to defeat hunger in the world. The did not have many means, but their dream of peace, solidarity and justice was strong and it showed them the right path to follow.
On the 2nd of August 1983, they entered for the first time the old military arsenal of Turin. It was a factory of weapons during the Italian Risorgimento and the Two World Wars. Now a ruin, but beyond the first impression, the force of a prophecy stirring within it became stronger. A thousand people, both young and adults, came from all Italy and abroad to help refurbish it with their voluntary work and goodwill. Everyone brought to the Arsenal just what they had: materials, professionalism, money.
Today, the Arsenal of Peace of Turin is the heart of a solidarity network spreading all over the world. It supports more than 3400 development projects in all the five continents: from Lebanon to Brazil, from Iraq to Rwanda, from Georgia to Bangladesh. It has organised more than 70 peacekeeping missions in the most terrible war zones and, for this reason, many personalities, including Mother Teresa, nominated Ernesto Olivero for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sermig wants to help both nearby and far away people: homeless people, women in need and whoever cannot manage to find a place for the night, food and health care. The whole world knocks at our door in Turin and at our two other arsenals: the Arsenal of Hope, in São Paulo (Brazil) that every day hosts 1200 men coming from the streets, and the Meeting Point Arsenal in Madaba (Jordan) that provides a place for hundreds of disabled children, both Christian and Muslim.
Sermig never stops its activity of charity and always embraces new challenges. It supports cooperative business both in Italy and abroad, ethical production through the use of renewable energies and compatible technologies, social housing, educational and recreational projects for children and young people and their families to promote inclusion through education.
Young people have always been a fundamental aspect of Sermig. Every year, Ernesto Olivero and his fellows meet tens of thousands of them to encourage them becoming the protagonists of their lives. For young people and with them, Sermig created a music academy and a sound lab, a school for art restorers, the University of Dialogue, its magazine “Nuovo Progetto” and its website, in addition to the international event “Giovani della Pace”, always reuniting thousands of young people coming from the whole world.
Sermig helps young people find a good purpose to their lives to create a better world. Its main aim in doing it is bringing men and women closer to God and His love. Indeed, in addition to action, prayer is another fundamental aspect for Sermig.
WORKING TOWARDS PEACE, SINCE 1964
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