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SACMI in the DRC to support ‘Pietro's School’

Company to contribute to the building of a fourth classroom and the board and lodging of the school's teachers for a year. Aimed at providing children from the village of Cireja (DRC) with educational opportunities, the initiative is named after Pietro Venieri, an Imola-born youngster who passed away prematurely in 2013

Alongside the Imola-Bukavu Mission Group, SACMI is helping to provide free school attendance and quality teaching to children in the Congolese village of Cireja, in the Kavumu district. Located in the Bukavu area - one of the country's poorest, devastated by poverty and civil war - the village is slowly coming back to life thanks to the ‘Pietro's School’ project, an initiative that aims to provide the community with a new school where children can complete the entire primary school syllabus.

Established by the Imola-Bukavu Mission Group in collaboration with the Kitumaini Center in Bukavu and the Les amis de Don Beppe community, the project is supported by SACMI, which has, this year, chosen to provide financial support for the construction of a new classroom in addition to the three already built since 2016. The funding extends beyond the construction of new infrastructure. It will also pay for a year's board and lodging for the school's teachers, another vital resource for children who would otherwise be condemned to a future of poverty and illiteracy.

Named after Pietro Venieri, a young Imola-born man who died in a traffic accident in 2013, the school is - from both a religious and civil standpoint - an initiative that honours the memory of those no longer with us, establishing a connection that extends beyond our earthly life. Another fine example is provided by SACMI's late Giorgio Sarani, who supported the establishment of the IMF Microcredit Institute: that body is now officially acknowledged by the Central Bank of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is pivotal to development of the local community.

For SACMI, the decision to support ‘Pietro's School’ is part an ongoing set of initiatives that have, over the years, seen the Cooperative work alongside key associations, schools and Imola-based health facilities to develop projects that benefit both the Imola area and the wider international community (from primary health care to training and initial employment). “This latest project”, points out the President of SACMI Imola, Paolo Mongardi, “is another example of how, through practical involvement, we can put social responsibility into the business equation and ensure its benefits extend to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged”.

The fourth SACMI-supported classroom at the Cireja school is a key part of the overall project. The latter is likely to be completed by 2021 and will involve a total of six classrooms, allowing pupils to complete the country's 6-year primary education syllabus. “The school is currently attended by over 220 children” says Stefania Batani, a doctor and volunteer with the Oratorio San Giacomo of Imola and the mother of Pietro Venieri, whom the school was named after, “and it enjoys huge support among the local community, especially from women. We need to remember that many of these children were born out of ethnically-motivated rapes; the school is thus a valuable support tool for an entire community that, above all, needs to rebuild its identity and create new networks of solidarity and human interaction” The initiative, as Stefania Batani reminds us, “also renews the Bukavu community's strong ties with the city of Imola, especially its Secondary School Centre, which organised the first long-distance adoption projects back in 2001”.

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