The journey of Margot Lemaire
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Social Sciences, I decided to take a sabbatical year and become a Lasallian volunteer in order to discover a new horizon, before committing myself to higher education. I flew to Scampia, a neighborhood north of Naples. I only knew about Scampia from what I had read in the newspapers or seen on television. Scampia was built with social housing between the 1970s and the 1990s. About 40,000 people live there, mostly disadvantaged families. This neighborhood has been left to its own for years and the camorra, which has been strongly implanted there for a long time, reigns supreme. The neighborhood is neglected by the government and children have no access to education. This is where the Lasallian community in this neighborhood comes in.
The Lasallian community has created a second chance school and a home for young people called “CasArcobaleno” (the rainbow house). The community of the Sisters of Providence has created a recreational center “Il Giardino Dai Mille Colori” (The Garden of a Thousand Colors). My role has been to intervene in these two structures and in different areas with young people: literacy, teaching, schooling, welcoming, workshops, activities (dance, music, songs), games, outings, exchanges, meetings, etc.. No two days were the same, I adapted myself according to the needs of the day of the educational team, and especially according to the children, what they really wanted and needed. Every day I did everything possible to give them my time, offering them my listening, my advice, my tenderness, my smiles, my love… My first thought when I woke up was Scampia, my day was entirely dedicated to its community and my last thought before going to sleep was still Scampia. I was and still am one with Scampia. This is the meaning of my mission: to give of oneself in the hope of contributing to a little more happiness in the lives of a few.
My life has become meaningful thanks to Scampia. Scampia transformed me, turned me upside down in the depths of my being. Scampia saved me, all of you my family at heart saved me. I think that this experience of volunteering at Scampia allows me to surpass myself every day. I know now that I will never be alone. This experience allows me to take the right path every day. I have confidence in life and I think I have found my place here in Scampia.
I would like to say to those who are hesitating to volunteer, to erase their doubts and fears and to go for it without hesitation. We are a generation of hope. The power to change things is in our hands. We can and we must act. Reach out your hand, dare, don’t be afraid. I am sure that someone is waiting for your help and will hold on to this hand extended to him. Each one of us can be an actor of peace, love and mutual aid on his or her own scale. We must realize this dream in order to make our world a better place for all of us and make it a reality.