Being there together

Publish date 25-02-2022

by Arsenale dell’Incontro

On October 14th we participated in a webinar organized by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Amman within the Sustainable Development Festival 2021 on the theme: Enabling people with disabilities through community commitment and social inclusion. Among the guests the ambassador to Jordan Fabio Cassese, Prince Mired Raed Zeid Al-Hussein president of the Superior Council for the rights of people with disabilities, the director of AICS in Jordan Emilio Cabasino and both Italian and Jordanian experts on these issues.

We were asked to share the experience of the Arsenale dell'Incontro on this issue, bearing witness that started from what we observe in our daily service. We tried to summarize and a phrase that we often use came up: to raise a child you need a village, which starts with educators and the family to reach society as a whole. And the more it involves all the components of society, the more it manages to be effective in its educational task. We also share with you some excerpts from the interventions of Ala and Ghassan, two of the educators who have been with us since the early years of Arsenale dell'Incontro and who have passionately transmitted this feeling of the importance of an entire community that takes care of the different. skilled.

"From 2009 to today I have seen the Arsenale's services grow like a mother sees her children grow up. At the beginning the services we offered were more limited, simple, the children were few ... But every time we perceived that the needs of the community around us were increasing we always wondered what we could do, and so step by step the "children" have increased and grown ... and we with them. There are families who come to the Arsenale because they have turned to doctors or specialists for help for their children and have been referred to us. With them, the beginning is easier, because there is already an acceptance of the situation, an awareness in them. There are others who come instead because they no longer know what to do, how to manage the suffering they bring and come here only because they are looking for someone who listens to their problems and have found an open door in the Arsenale. From that listening begins a dialogue, which is not always easy, because it often starts from a great effort, from a refusal: it is necessary to accompany them step by step towards an opening, towards acceptance, towards collaboration. Because if the family does not agree to share the educational path of their children, we can also do our full part but there is no real progress. Today the Arsenale dell’Incontro is a small example of community, of society: there are children and young people who attend it and educators, but also families, volunteers play a central role. The more we all listen to the needs that families bring us, to their efforts in daily life, in the relationship with society… the more we are able to be truly helpful and supportive. The family, with parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, grandparents… is the first community with which the child needs to enter into a relationship. Then this fabric spreads to the local community, to the school… This requires that among us educators there is a great team work, that there is no competition but we learn more and more to put ourselves together at the service. Each with his skills and his personality but with the only goal of doing the good of the people entrusted to us. If we do not work together among ourselves we cannot be of help for the integration of our little ones into the community, because unity and integration begin with us, by keeping together and collaborating in our diversity ".

"With older kids, many of them are now of age, we continually try to find paths that help them enhance their skills, their ability to relate to others, always with the desire to accompany them in a journey of ever more active participation in social life, of true integration. Whenever we hear that one of the guys
he has a higher potential than we imagined, we are looking for new activities, new ideas, which allow him to fully develop all his abilities. And soon on this journey we realized that what we could do alone as educators was no longer enough, so we looked for technicians who had the professional skills that we lacked. It happened with agriculture, with mosaics, with sewing ... from the meeting between the skills of educators and the technical skills of professionals, paths were born that are new and that are helping our children a lot because they look at their lives. 360 degrees, paths in which educational, professional, relational skills - thanks to the team that work together - blend together. This is also helping the kids a lot to increase self-confidence and in relationships with new people they meet or visit us at the Arsenale. How many times have we seen people arrive at the Arsenal frightened by the idea of ​​encountering a disability or convinced that our children cannot do anything and leave here with a completely opposite idea. The trust of some is transmitted to the other ».

What struck us most were their answers when we asked them to say what they felt most important, starting from their experience here at the Arsenale. «I believe that there are no parents who do not love their children, I believe that the great effort that sometimes emerges and appears as a lack of love comes from a refusal on a social and community level that creates great distances and loneliness. I believe that as an educational community and also as a social community we have a very important role: to always make everyone feel that the door is open, that there is a place for everyone ".

«The most important thing I feel I have to say is this: the key to everything is constancy. Don't be stopped by difficulties, tiredness, but give continuity, always be there. Because this also reassures families that our being next to them is not "in time". And it helps them to accept the idea that their children's growth times may also require long, very long journeys ... you can ask them to welcome them with confidence only if you somehow guarantee that they will never be alone, that they will always have us next to you. . Then slowly the desire that is in the heart of every parent to see their child quickly and well achieve all the objectives of his or her educational path takes a bit of a back seat. And this gives hope to everyone, because it is no longer a question of skill, but of being together ».

Arsenal of the Match
NP November 2021

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