Una Vacanza Una Esperienza Per la pace

The Eni Foundation initiative that enables Ukrainian minors and their relatives to enjoy a period of holiday.

A tangible support measure in the name of peace

From June to September 2022 the Eni Foundation, with the coordination of the regional structures of the Civil Protection Department, promoted the “Una Vacanza Una Esperienza Per la pace” initiative in collaboration with the D.O.C. s.c.s. cooperative in a number of tourist resorts in Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and the Marche. The aim of the project was to host Ukrainian children and adolescents, together with their families, who have already been provided refuge in Italy for a period of holiday. With the support of educators, linguistic and cultural mediators, doctors and psychologists, the initiative followed a programme of recreational, study and sports experiences in nature.

Activities and specific goals of the initiative

Una Vacanza Una Esperienza Per la pace” was devised as an international solidarity project designed to reduce and mitigate the consequences of the war on Ukrainian children, youths and adults. Notwithstanding the language and cultural differences between the participants, the initiative built a common ground and fostered dialogue between the guests, educators and the community through universal languages like play, music, art and the movements of the body.

To create a holiday experience suitable for all, the programme of activities took into account of the specific needs, personal stories and ages of individual participants. As well as initiatives that promote the host regions and resorts, every holiday involved an in-depth Italian language course consisting of fifteen lessons of an hour and-a-half each and the coordination of an instructor for sports activities. In addition, with the support of cultural mediators, the program included intercultural activities, workshops and art courses with the following goals:

  • to restore the physical and mental wellbeing and personal equilibrium of participants, encouraging them to express their problems and open up emotionally in order to get their lives back on track and look to the future
  • to meet the host community, establishing a relationship and a dialogue with which to reduce the gap that has formed between participants and their loved ones, their home and their culture
  • to offer all participants, children and adolescents in particular, the opportunity to cultivate their passions and develop their skills, such as, for example, learning Italian, ahead of an unknown period of time in our country and the start of the next academic year
  • to guarantee, as far as possible, contact with relatives still in Ukraine.

The venues selected

The facilities are well-established and located in safe, protected and welcoming environments. As well as the rooms and dining areas, they featured workshops, art studios and large communal spaces. A total of 1190 places were made available, with holidays of 20 nights/21 days to offer guests a holiday experience of a suitable duration. No organisational activities or transportation were provided for guests to reach the facilities or take them back to their residences in Italy.

The following facilities are involved in the project:

  • Ostello sul Mare in Cesenatico, in Emilia-Romagna
  • Villaggio Torre Marina resort in Marina di Massa, Tuscany
  • La Corte della Miniera holiday farm, Marche
  • Cascina Betlemme holiday farm in Moncucco Torinese, Piedmont
  • Villaggio Olimpico in Bardonecchia, Piedmont.

Psychological support and training for operators

An integral part of the project was the support for the activities of the education team provided by professional psychologists. On the one side, these professionals helped the educators to interpret, understand and relay the significance of the conflict experienced by children and adolescents during their holiday; on the other side, they promoted moments of dialogue among participants.

Educational staff was also involved in multiple training activities, specific to their different roles: managers, coordinators, entertainment staff, educators, support staff and medical-healthcare teams. The courses focused on professional expertise, the responsibilities of all adults during the holidays, workplace safety and first aid.

Particular attention was given on the reporting, recognition and combating of bullying through the application of a management system consistent with the UNI/Pdr 42:2018 standard.

The project and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

Like the other projects it has carried out across the world, this Eni Foundation initiative is inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. In particular: Goal 3, Zero Poverty (End poverty in all its forms everywhere); Goal 4, Quality Education (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all); Goal 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels).