When I first crossed the threshold of “Station School” in the railway station of Giugliano-Qualiano, it was morning and it was cold and wet.
In the coach on the way, we talked among ourselves. Some were excited and happy, others were agitated, some were really afraid. We arrived early and started to organise the furniture, a haphazard collection that contrasted with the robust, cream-coloured furnishings in the classroom I had just left behind me in Rome.
Everything was different from our familiar things, but it was still a school all the same. It had everything: blackboard and chalk, two qualified teachers, exercise books, pens, coloured pencils and lessons to be learned.
And we were there as “special guests”.
Everything was ready; only the pupils were missing. Our “lovely pupils” would be fifty or so children from the Romany camp in Giugliano. Then they turned up, all joyful and happy, full of life, unconcerned by the rain and the cold, by the clothes they were wearing or by the thought of the difficulties they would face in learning. We were carried away by the rush of their joyfulness, tired but determined in their wish to find knowledge. It was a new experience for all of us.
Usually we drag ourselves to school each day driven by the words of our parents rather than by our own feet, and we cannot wait for the bell to ring so that we can finally go home and immerse ourselves in the lives we are commited to live by our own choice.
These children showed us by their marvellous simplicity that instruction is the most powerful means to change the world.
“Station School” gives us our opportunity for doing so.
Bissera, Bruno, Giacomo, Merlino, all the other children and all of us are citizens of this planet, and we all deserve to be given the means which will enable us to learn.
“Station School” is not just a place; it is a community of hearts dedicated to teaching those who have been forgotten.
We are all part of this marvellous mosaic of citizenship, in which love is the only Master. In “Station School” the “lovely children” taught me that when we are guided by faith we really see the world from a different perspective.
Brother Raffaele and his fellow workers represent for us the pillars that support the Lasallian network day after day.
These children are just like me.
They are Lasallian students, and that is thanks to “Station School”.
We are all united by the hope that is represented by this new and beautiful opportunity, and we are part of a bigger pattern in the shape of a Star. We all have faith in that star, which shows us the right way to go in times of bewilderment and reminds us how important it is to get to know one’s neighbours and to have the capacity to love them.