Vatican and UNICEF to work together for disadvantaged youth

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The Vatican and the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday signed an agreement aimed at working more closely together to reach out to some of the most disadvantaged young people in the world. 

The executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, met with Pope Francis at the Casa Santa Marta to sign the agreement of cooperation with Scholas Occurrentes, an organization launched by the Pope during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires. The initiative uses sports, technology and art to promote social integration and a culture of encounter amongst disadvantaged young people.

A second agreement was also signed between Scholas Occurrentes and  the South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL]  By working closely together, these organizations aim to “provide adolescents with the tools, information and comprehension they need to become citizens who can participate fully in their societies and in the world.” Young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years old represent about 20% of the world’s population. The majority of them live in developing countries.

Speaking with Vatican Radio after the signing ceremony, UNICEF’s Anthony Lake stressed the importance of connecting innovative youth with their likeminded peers to create a culture of “Youth for youth” encounte.

Vatican and UNICEF to work together for disadvantaged youth


Adolescence is a crucial moment, the age of risk but also a time of opportunity, he says.  Young people who learn to work together and solve common problems are developing skills that will more than help build a better future for themselves.

Lake explaines that the two organizations will explore new ways in which they can mobilize social networks and social movements in favor of the most disadvantaged children. They will also explore other opportunities for collaboration, centering around world events for youth, such as the Social Impact of Youth Summit at the 2015 Summer Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

This is not the first time that Pope Francis has highlighted the role which sport can play in the lives of young people from difficult backgrounds. During a meeting with the Italian and Argentine national football teams in the Vatican in August 2013, the Pope reminded them that “Football players are often looked up to by young people” and he urged them to be good role models for their fans.


(from Vatican Radio)

Source: (Apr. 21, 2015)