Photo: Elena Ingallina

Inter-European

The Educational Sidewalk: ADRA Italia Implements Educational Sidewalk to Address Discrimination, Diversity, Disability, and Bullying

Adventist agency’s recent project aims to educate, break down barriers, overcome prejudices

Italy | Giusy Carbè, Notizie Avventiste, EUDnews

The Educational Sidewalk, much wanted and desired for years, arrived in Niscemi, Sicily, Italy, on November 8, 2023, thanks to the commitment of Elena Ingallina and Pastor Gabriele Ciantia, ADRA coordinators at the local and regional levels, respectively. They achieved this with the collaboration of Giorgio Bella, project manager for eastern Sicily. The modular structure, which reproduces a normal city sidewalk, with all the difficulties and obstacles that are almost impassable for a disabled person, was assembled in the Alessandro Manzoni school, where it remained for two days.

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Photo: Elena Ingallina

The project aims to educate, break down barriers, and overcome prejudices by allowing people to put themselves in other people's shoes.

According to a statement explaining the project on the ADRA Italia website, “Boys and girls without walking problems are invited to follow it, sitting in wheelchairs, and the effect is instant: they immediately realize how problematic such a route can be for those with disabilities. After this experience, there follows a moment of sharing and reflection on prejudice, diversity, disability, and bullying."

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Photo: Elena Ingallina

“It was a wonderful experience to see the kids very attentive and involved,” shared Giusy Carbè, spokesperson for the Adventist Church in Niscemi. “The head teacher was delighted and invited us to present this project to the third-year students every year. Even the mayor, Massimiliano Conti, was enchanted by the project and wants us to carry it out in the square to make the citizens and business owners of Niscemi reflect on respect for those in wheelchairs.”

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Photo: Elena Ingallina

The presence of Vincenzo Tinirello, a boy disabled due to a road accident, played an important role.

“Today was a special moment in my life that I will never forget!” exclaimed the young man. “I have to thank ADRA for letting me participate in the training and social awareness process. Thanks to all the guys who participated with great interest. I hope I have conveyed positivity to you in your life. Problems are addressed; always talk about it with your parents, brothers, sisters; you will never be alone! Thank you!"

About the Educational Sidewalk

The Educational Sidewalk is a project of ADRA Italia, created with the contribution of the Adventist Church. It is a modular wooden structure (present in Florence, Cesena, and Sicily), validated by recent social research on the project, which reproduces a normal city sidewalk with all its difficulties and obstacles: potholes, bicycles tied to poles, canine excrement, scooter cases that protrude too much, etc.

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Boys and girls without walking problems are invited to travel along the sidewalk while sitting in wheelchairs, and the effect is instant: They immediately realize how problematic such a route can be for a disabled person.

Photo: Elena Ingallina

Photo: Elena Ingallina

After this experience, they are involved in a moment of sharing and reflection on prejudice, diversity, disability, and bullying.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-European Division website.

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