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An award for an educational project for children and young people at risk in society

 

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The Rialles Open Centre, in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona

29/01/2005: Spain

Santa Coloma de Gramenet, with a population of 125,000 people from 92 different nationalities, is in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Spain. In the year 2000, Cáritas and the Institute of the Marist Brothers created the “Centre Obert Rialles” to assist children and young people at risk in society. A civic jury, composed of fifteen members and presided over by the mayor of the city, assessed the educational contribution of this centre and awarded it the XII Premis Ciutat de Santa Coloma, which was presented to Brother José Antonio Molina.
The Centre opens in the afternoons, after the children and young people, aged between three and sixteen, have finished school for the day. The educational project is ambitious yet concrete. They combine recreational activities with educational tutoring, as well as providing something for the children to eat and giving them a chance to take a shower. Brothers José Antonio Molina and Jesus María Puente and three laypeople are the main staff at the Centre. They are assisted by sixty-five people who work as volunteers. The local parishes are also very supportive of this initiative of the Marist Brothers while the project is supported financially by some businesses and foundations.
This award is an honorary prize given to an entity of the Church. Such recognition is neither expected nor sought after in the daily, simple, constant work. For this reason, it has come as a surprise but willingly accepted as it acknowledges the effort of so many people. Though the Centre is a work of the Church, it is not restricted to Catholics. The personal and social needs of the children and young people are the important criteria, not their religious beliefs. This is an essential point in such a multicultural society. The people of Santa Coloma know that the priests and the Catholic people, the parishes and religious bodies, have always been on their side, making an effort to collaborate with the civil authorities and social organisations in favour of the common good. In granting this award, the authorities have shown that they support the commitment and work of this Centre, that they recognise the existence of a social problem and that they are willing to contribute to finding a solution.

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