Di Donato Parent's Association

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The Associazione Genitori Scuola Di Donato (AGSDD) was created in 2003 by a group of parents from the school Di Donato (via Bixio 83-85), located in the Esquilino area of central Rome. Under the auspices of the then Principal, Prof. Bruno Cacco, these parents undertook the restoration of the school basement, which had remained unused and filled with discarded furniture and rubbish for years.

The re-opening of this huge space has marked a meeting point for the different groups involved in the life of the school (children, teachers, parents, caretakers), and for various institutions, with the general aim of exploiting public properties for the sake of the community. Now the AGSDD counts more than one hundred members, who work voluntarily in order to manage and operate the basement, together with the two courtyards and the school gym, for sport and recreation activities, cultural meetings and many services for both young and adult participants outside of school hours.

The fruits of this work are particularly significant in the context of the school’s location, in the heart of Rome’s most multiethnic area, nearby Piazza Vittorio. Since December 2004, the ASGDD is also head of the Polo Intermundia of the I Municipio. Through its persistent work, the Association has become a main reference point for public life in the Esquilino area, in association with other organizations, public and private bodies, projects, and institutions, united in their aim to build a child-friendly city.

Currently, the Association uses this space for many different activities: a playroom and a supplementary lesson service in after-school time; special rooms for kids’ birthday parties; courses of classic and folk dance, bally dance and capoeira; courses of soccer, cricket, basketball and mini-basketball, courses of gymnastics; workshops in theatrical dramatization and in music; courses in Chinese and Arabic language and culture; courses in Arabo-Persian calligraphy and miniature; courses in Italian language for foreigners. The Association also hosts a choir and supports the Esquilino Youth Orchestra directed by Moni Ovadia. All activities are free or at a minimum charge. The space operated by the AGSDD regularly hosts parties, ceremonies and meetings of the foreign communities present in the area, as well as conferences on intercultural and educational themes, and many pedagogical exhibitions and shows of various kinds.

In collaboration with the Progetto Mediazione Sociale, the AGSDD has created a team for psycho-pedagogical support and cultural and linguistic mediation, which is active weekly for the children at the school, as well as for their families. is active for the children, as well as for their families.

In the years 2006-2010 the AGSDD has attended a great number of intercultural events promoted by organizations and communities in the Esquilino area.

Every year since 6 May 2006, the AGSDD has hosted a special event in the school space dedicated to promoting the theme of “A child-friendly city”. This day includes a basketball tournament dedicated to a child of the school, Mark Christian Matibag, who died in an accident in 2005. During the day, all other activities, performances and speeches are devoted to the idea of ‘playing and practising sport in safety’: in May 2010 the special event was attended by more than 2000 people.

The basis for AGSDD’s activities is the recovery and management of public space, with the aim of sharing it with families, school operators, other associations and bodies, the area’s inhabitants, and city institutions: it is a model of best practice, which has succeeded in setting the school at the heart of a relational web that touches upon all social components of the Esquilino area.

The Association’s main idea is that true cultural integration – far beyond any rhetorical slogan – can be achieved through the revaluation and requalification of territory, and of spaces, through the work of its citizens, whatever their place of origin.

associazione genitori scuola di donato via bixio 83-85 Roma 0670453402