5810163712_53996cbd0a_oThis week, two of our policy officers had the opportunity to spend two full days in Italy to visit many innovative projects run by Diaconia Valdese (Waldensian Diaconia). The projects, run with passion by many employees and volunteers, are located in the so called ‘’Waldensian Valleys’’, a mountain area in the Piedmont Alps. They seek to provide a better and more inclusive life for elderly people, people suffering from dementia, young persons and refugees.

All of those projects are realised on a very regional level and involve, right from the beginning, local communities and local groups, giving them the chance to think and shape the better ways to be hospitable. This happens on a regular basis, and contributes not only to design and share new ideas, but also to directly involve locals in the realisation of the projects. The final, and probably the most important result, is tackling people’s fears – especially when it comes to hosting refugees and migrants.

Besides demonstrating that Diaconia Valdese and their services play a crucial role in many regions in Italy, their approach could be well applicable and developed on a cross-regional level and could serve as an example for other comparable regions in Europe. That approach illustrates the highest values of diaconia which are exactly the opposite of the current ‘’not in my backyard’’ attitude in local communities across Europe.

With our inclusive work, we help locals to experience hospitality and to break their opposition to new social developments because they are close to them. We believe that social developments are not only needed in our countries but that they should be the closest possible. Let’s keep working together and continue with the diaconal attitude of: ‘’Please in my backyard, as soon as possible’’!

Have a good weekend,