In Italy, churches, synagogues and other religious centers serve a dual purpose as places of worship and as houses of learning.
As immigrants come to Italy in greater numbers, the demand for Italian lessons has increased dramatically. To meet this need, some religious leaders have set up classes for migrants and their children to learn Italian for free while they adjust to new lives in Italy. In other religious spaces, education has always been central to the spiritual mission of the community and the intricate school programs reflect that commitment.
In Turin, the Catholic Church supports lessons taught at the Catholic Migrant Services building, along with immigration assistance so that people new to the city can find housing, jobs and find avenues to legal documentation. The city’s synagogue also offers lessons to young students, some Jewish and some not, in its on-site school. The lessons here offer a chance to meld together a secular education with a spiritual one.
These religious organizations are creating spiritual doors to education for students from many different backgrounds, nationalities and faiths.