Every spring since 1997 we have hosted a group of 70 Belarusian disabled children and youths at Borghetto Santo Spirito in Liguria at the Casa degli Gioia dell’Unitalsi. We offer them a month of sea, vacation, love and pampering together with good food and pure air.
Why is vacation important?
Especially for the children of Zhuravichi who live very isolated from the rest of the world this month of vacation is really the reason for life, hope and the dream that chase during the rest of the gray and cold months of winter. The first months after returning home are alive and full of good memories of the past holiday while the following months are filled with the expectation of the next holiday. This is what makes Borghetto the month unique and irreplaceable.
Then there is the physical healing aspect that allows their bodies to significantly reduce radiation levels with just 1 month of uncontaminated food and air.
How long is the holiday
We host children in May for 30-35 days depending on the availability of cheap charter flights.
You do not have to be a super hero to be a volunteer at the House of Joy. The super powers are already within you, just recognize them and give them to others. Love, joy, joy, passion, simplicity, desire to get involved, these are the main ingredients to become a volunteer Unitalsi. You have to be willing to follow the children, play with them and keep them entertained. For them this period is the only holiday during the year and we are there to help them feel good.
Volunteers usually work for a week or more if they wish. However, volunteers are welcome for the weekend only. The activities requested by the volunteer are not very demanding and generally do not require preparation before departure.
How we communicate
In Belarus, Russian is spoken and the alphabet used is Cyrillic but this is not a problem. Some volunteers speak Russian and some Belarusian boys after years of staying in Borghetto speak a little Italian. Most of the children or teenagers have mental disabilities for which they do not even speak Russian. The official language of Borghetto is the smile, the gentle gestures, the quiet tone of voice. This is enough to create a deep bond, which is difficult to express in words.
The day at Borghetto includes an alarm clock at 8.00 am, breakfast at 9.00 am. At 9.30 all on the beach. If the weather and the temperature of the sea allow it to take a bath, otherwise you can enjoy the sun and tans. At 12.30 you return to the house for lunch and after a few playful moments you do the afternoon nap, not all for the truth. Snack at 16.00 and then still beach or play in the yard. Dinner at 7.45 pm and evening of games or walks in the center along the tourist streets for an ice cream and a chat. Finally everyone in bed at 10.45pm. Click here to know more about how a day takes place in Borghetto.