Civil service in the Holy Land: Bethlehem

Giacomo Pizzi16 May 2011

Custode e volontari di BetlemmeIn February, four volunteers from the National Civil Service began work in Bethlehem.

The project, entitled One Step Away from the Earth, is sponsored by the Icarus Consortium of Foggia, who have long collaborated and supported the work of the Custody of the Holy Land / ATS Pro Terra Sancta. The project aims to provide help to the needy and organise fundraising activities for the Custody of the Holy Land.

Volunteers are engaged in social projects promoted by ATS Pro Terra Sancta, the John Paul II Foundation and the Franciscan Social Service Office (FSSO), which aim to support the “living stones” of Bethlehem in the complicated political and economic situation typical of the territories of the Palestinian Authority; this difficult situation severly affects the most vulnerable, particularly children and the elderly. The volunteers serve at; Casa Hogar Niño Dios, run by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, which is home to approximately 30 disabled children; and the Antonian Charitable Society, a nursing and retirement home which houses 27 elderly women.

The volunteers chosen by the Icarus Consortium are Andrea Colasuonno, Anna Colombi, Raffaele Santoro and Sara Micheletti.

Andrea Colasuonno, 26, graduate of Philosophical Sciences from the University of Milan.

Andrea helps the John Paul II Foundation by assisting in programming initiatives involving mainly young people and collaborating in cultural activities promoted by the foundation.

Anna Colombi, 25, graduate of Linguistic Sciences in Intercultural Mediation from the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan.

Anna assists the Antonian Charitable Society and is helping with the ATS Pro Terra Sancta project entitled “The Elderly of Bethlehem”.

Raffaele Santoro, 25, graduate in Physiotherapy from the University of L’Aquila.

Raffaele provides physiotherapy treatment to children with special needs at the Hogar Niño Dios centre.

Sara Micheletti, 25, graduate of Political Science and International Relations from the University of Milan with expertise in International Cooperation.

Sara assists by participating in planning activities for ATS Pro Terra Sancta – Custody of the Holy Land based at both the FSSO and the Hogar Niño Dios centre, where she helps the sisters in taking care of the children.