Interventions in support of compulsory school attendance for Sinti underage children and teenagers living in the Village in Granoturco Street (Favaro Veneto, Venice)

MUNICIPALITY OF VENICE – Mestre Carpenedo district

Social Service – Task Group “Childhood and Adolescence


We are sure that the best integration, respecting different cultures, should be done helping the children to attend the school, the most important place where they can learn how to listen each other, how to collide each other, how to understand each other and, above all, how to respect each other.

The valuable work, here reported, made by our social workers Angelo Sopelsa and Marco Bidinotto, has given to our Municipality the chance to provide one more opportunity to underage youngsters that are living in this new Sinti Village. Furthermore, it has helped the parents, resident citizens inside the Municipality of Venice, to respect for their children – as well as for all the children – their right to learn and to attend the school, conciliating their own culture and the duties that all parents should have (Professor Chiara Puppini  delegate for social policies, Municipality of Venice – Mestre Carpenedo district).


The Municipality of Venice has organized a network of interventions to support Sinti inhabitants inside the new Village.

The project – that aims to help and to promote school attendance for underage youngsters living in the Village – during the last two years has been focused increasingly on actions that have given more sense of responsibility to the families regarding all the support that they should provide to their children in relation to compulsory school attendance.

We have faced problems concerning the logistical structure of the new Village and after that the changes of social relationships related to each school contexts both for those children who have remained in the same school and for those who have changed school.

This entire project addressed to underage Sinti has been developed creating a good relationship and “alliance” both with Sinti families and with the schools.

The educators that work inside the Village develop informal relationships with the inhabitants and, at the same time, discover and analyze the needs that come out through a “territorial educational” action.

All the demands for information and help about schooling made by parents, children and youngsters are welcomed. On the other hand, the social workers collaborate with the schools and the other local institutions and therefore they have the task of calling the families if there are situations of school dispersion.

Today it is clear that all the social workers are informed about the school attendance of underage Sinti; the relationships with parents and families have helped in discovering and evaluating resources and problems of children and teenagers that are still inside the compulsory school cycle.

Together with an institutional role of supervising, this year we have provided the families with the following services: daily transport service in order to take the children to the school in the morning; workshops – helping the children with their homework – during the afternoons inside the Village; some interventions (individual or in group) to support children and teenagers that attend primary and secondary schools; home care supports for youngsters at high risk of school drop-out; orientation projects and other interventions to support the compulsory school attendance as post school activities and courses to get the diploma of the first grade of secondary school.

For youngsters that are attending the first grade of secondary school, during the last years it has empowered the network with families and youngsters in order to promote the school attendance. The school has given an important aid helping its Sinti students; the support given to these youngsters has increased thanks to a project funded by a local charity foundation that has the purpose of helping Sinti students in the morning – during the school time – organizing some individual and group activities. The Sinti participants have welcomed this project answering with a good attendance and a good commitment and, at the same time, creating a good relationship with the social worker that leads the project.


Mestre, 9th May 2012

By Angelo Sopelsa and Marco Bidinotto