Legionaries of Christ | Thursday, 18 december 2014
U. S. A. | What We do |
Villaggio dei ragazzi (Boys’ Town)
Villaggio dei ragazzi is a work of Christian charity and social assistance that was raised up in Italy after World War II to give human and cultural formation to underprivileged children.
After the Second World War, there was a chaotic situation in the south of Italy. One of the many causes was that the war left many children and youth without a home. It was in this atmosphere that a great Italian priest appeared, Don Salvatore D’Angelo. With admirable generosity, he dedicated himself to gathering these “street children” in the zone of Maddaloni, a beautiful old city situated just a few miles from Naples. His only intention was to give them a place to stay, education, and a hopeful future. In this way, a new social work spraing up in Maddaloni in 1947, a work capable of giving the hope of a better life to many boys and girls: the foundation “Villaggio dei ragazzi”.
The Italian government officially recognized this work when, in 1975, it turned the initial work into a moral entity with the title “Fondazione Villaggio dei Ragazzi” (Boys’ Town Foundation). At the end of the 1990s, Don Salvatore foresaw that the hour of his death was approaching. Wanting to give continuity to the work, he turned to the Legion of Christ. Thus, at the start of the year 2000, the Legionaries began working in this institution of Christian charity and social assistance. On May 30 of that same year, Don Salvatore D’Angelo passed away.
The purpose of the foundation is to develop initiatives of social assistance as well as educational, cultural, and recreational activities for those children and youth who have not been able to receive a good human formation or a qualified cultural formation up to the level of the needs of the current labor market.
In an atmosphere of peace and work, thousands of boys and girls have formed their present and future in the Villaggio.
The foundation currently hosts 1,800 students, of whom more than 500 live there for free or pay half-rates. It has a preschool, a state primary and secondary school; an institute for industrial technology and aeronautical technology; a university level languages program; and a superior institute for interpreters and translators. The Villaggio’s formative action has been widely recognized worldwide, as shown by the Distinguished Achievement Award it received from the Catholic University of America in Washington, granted to Don Salvatore, not to mention the many visits of eminent Nobel prizewinners and figures from the scientific world such as Antonino Zichichi, Carlo Rubbia, or Rita Levi, among others.