By Anita Bourdin

On Saturday afternoon, June 13, 2020, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, went to an association and slum of Rome, to provide sanitary equipment.

At the former “Polo Barn” Center the Cardinal met with the volunteers of the “21st of July” Italian Association for the fight against discrimination and the defense of children.

“Every week the Association provides 250 to 300 food parcels for children between the ages of 0 to 3 living in slums and in Rom camps of the capital,” pointed out the same source, with the objective of “fighting against malnutrition, especially in this emergency period due to the pandemic.”

With the contribution of the Vatican’s Pharmacy, partner of the Vatican’s Commission for COVID-19 established at the Dicastery, Cardinal Turkson distributed 3,000 vinyl gloves, 6,000 surgical masks, 200 washable fabric masks and 500 packets of Paracetamol.

Later, in the afternoon, Cardinal Turkson visited the Rom camp of Castel Romano, where family packages were delivered in certain communities of the slum.

The Cardinal transmitted to all those present and to the volunteers engaged in assistance to the communities, to families and to children of the slums, Pope Francis’ ”paternal accolade” and “the expression of his spiritual closeness in this difficult and trying moment.” “As Pope Francis often repeats, “no one should be left behind. We are here today to give witness of our support to all those that live situations of suffering and vulnerability, and who are often forgotten, notably in this moment of health, social and economic urgency. Let us remember that man’s integral development is linked to the care of Creation: failing in one, we fail also in the other.”

The visit to the former “Polo Barn” and to the Castel Romano camp was organized by Carlo Stasolla, President of the “21st of July” Association, involved for a long time in the assistance and accompaniment of Rom and Sinti populations: the Cardinal expressed his “cordial thanks” to them.

Cardinal Turkson was accompanied on this visit to the former “Polo Barn” and slum by Monsignor Gianpiero Palmieri, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome for the East Sector and Delegate to Caritas, for the pastoral care of migrants and Rom; by Father Giovanni De Robertis, Director General of the Migrants Foundation; by Monsignor Pierpaolo Felicolo, Director of the Migrants Foundation of Rome; and by Mrs. Maria Rosaria Giampaolo of the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, related to the “Don’t Forget Me” project attentive to the health needs of communities in the slums.

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