Scholas and other seven Italian foundations create the «Sport for Inclusion Network»

The Milan headquarters of Cariplo Factory hosted the first public outing of the «Sport for Inclusion Network», an independent community that stimulates and supports collaboration between foundations and other organizations in the Third Sector and the world of sport.

Eight foundations promoted it: their initiatives throughout Italy use sport and free play as tools for inclusion. The founders are Fondazione Adecco per le Pari Opportunità, Fondazione Candido Cannavó per lo Sport, Fondazione Èbbene, Fondazione Giovanni Paolo II per lo Sport, Fondazione Mazzola, Fondazione Milan, Fondazione Scholas Occurrentes and Sportfund Fondazione per lo Sport.

Sport for Inclusion Network was born from the conviction that the growth of urgent social needs and the vastness of the related challenges necessarily require a synergy of action, which can catalyze and pool resources and skills, integrating the mandate that each foundation carries out independently.

The opening, after the institutional greetings of Martina Riva, Councillor for Sport, Tourism and Youth Policies of the City of Milan, and Marco Riva, president of the Regional Committee CONI Lombardia, was entrusted to Rocco Giorgianni, spokesman for the new network. «Sport should be a great gym of life and sociality, practicable by all for its innate ability to create community and well-being. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen: that’s why we feel the need to try to enhance all those realities that in Italy make the practice of sports and free play accessible to all.»

The theme of inclusive sports and the consequent choices were echoed in two significant testimonies. The first was that of Irma Testa, bronze medalist in boxing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, who saw her passion grow in the alleys of Torre Annunziata. «Sport for me has been an escape route because it allowed me to get out of a reality that was not beautiful – said the athlete in a video message dedicated to the guests of the day – my teacher made me understand that there is always a second way to take, a second opportunity to seize. I always explain to the kids that you don’t have to aim at winning an Olympic medal, because sport teaches you to be with people and to find a happy island in a suburban gym».

After her, the testimony of Don Claudio Burgio, founder and president of the Kayrós Association, for years engaged in changing – also with sport – the lives of young people met in prisons.

The choice of method proposed by the Network formalizes the desire to be an open platform for discussion within its programmatic manifesto for inclusive sport, also presented on the occasion and downloadable on the website

The heart of the morning was a lively networking that the promoters have strongly desired to offer the possibility, to the more than 60 organizations present, to find synergies and common paths between them and with the Network. From the discussion tables it emerged that most of the organizations present are committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities or in conditions of poverty and economic exclusion. These organizations are looking for opportunities to forge new partnerships in an open logic, opportunities for comparison among peers, sharing of best practices and development opportunities through informal training sessions.

«Today – said Giorgianni – we are starting a path around the great theme of sport as a tool for social inclusion wants to bring together the excellence of the Italian Third Sector, starting from the eight foundations promoting the Sport for Inclusion Network, but with a desire to open to many other similar experiences and important in our country. The large number of qualified and varied participants at the public presentation in Milan, from philanthropy to universities, from companies to institutions, is the picture of a widespread need for comparison, for a system, for dialogue, planning and experimenting together. This is exactly what the Sport For Inclusion Network, strengthened by new members, intends to do starting tomorrow».

An open alliance, therefore, that of the Network, which gathers those who want to be part of it in a perspective of aggregation based on values. It is not enough, in fact, to move independently: there is a need to do more – the promoters reiterate – not only to expand the audience of sports practitioners, an essential social and cultural asset, but also because there are never enough investments and projects shared between institutions, schools, organizations and the productive world. Young people in particular pay the price for this lack of strategy and collective vision. Sport for Inclusion Network wants to play this game for them and for everyone.

The event was sponsored by Fondazione Cariplo, represented at the opening by Dario Bolis.

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