Mission Bambini and Mediobanca join forces to build a more inclusive school in vulnerable areas

Education, sustainable development and computer equipment
For over 700 children and young people on the outskirts of Milan

Fondazione Mission Bambini – which has been working daily to support children in need for over twenty years – and the Mediobanca Group have again joined forces in the area of inclusive education. A new project has been launched to help over 700 children and young people in 40 classes at elementary and middle school levels at two comprehensive schools located in socially vulnerable areas on the outskirts of Milan. The project involves redeveloping the schools’ outside areas from an educational standpoint by creating a sensory garden, to be developed as part of a company volunteering project promoted by the Mediobanca Group. The project also includes providing psychological and emotional support for the children through Mission Bambini areas and enhancing the schools’ computer equipment.

The partnership got underway in recent days with the creation of a sensory garden at the Istituto Comprensivo Arcadia, a school in the Gratosoglio area. The garden, designed, researched and developed entirely by volunteers from Mediobanca, is a natural area with the aim of stimulating all the children’s five senses to allow them to experience the world of nature through different smells, colours and tastes. The area, which has been completely renewed, will allow lessons and activities to be carried out in a natural environment, enabling new workshop-based forms of teaching to make classes more interactive and dynamic. The 25 volunteers from Mediobanca were involved from the design phase, including the choice of essences and the arrangement of the pathways between the plants. They also put together a booklet of instructions for the children on how to look after the garden.

The activity forms part of an innovative format devised by Fondazione Mission Bambini called Social Team Building. Social Team Building is addressed to companies to combine company volunteering with training, offering employees an opportunity to enjoy a personally enriching experience with their own team of colleagues by carrying out activities that help to generate social impact in the community. At the same time it allows them to develop transferable skills such as co-operation, communication, the ability to develop adequate solutions and take responsibility. The Social Team Building exercise was developed in conjunction with Orbita, a consultancy company that combines the world of HR with the world of architecture, and with Solaris, an employment and social rehabilitation company.

“Our aim is to guarantee that all children have the right to learn and study in places which are attractive as well as functional. Our children deserve to go to schools equipped with the necessary instrumentation to learn and be properly trained, places they find pleasant to return to, where they feel welcome. We’re aware this is not always possible, especially for pupils who live in difficult areas which are fragile in social and economic terms”, said Sara Modena, General Manager of Mission Bambini. “The co-operation with Mediobanca, whom I would like to thank for working with us again this year, goes in this direction: to develop a model of school that is innovative, technological, inclusive and sensitive to the environment”.

“This new co-operation with Mission Bambini confirms Mediobanca’s commitment to inclusion issues. In recent years we have been involved in various projects to promote the inclusion of socially vulnerable areas of the population which are at risk of exclusion”, said Giovanna Giusti Del Giardino, Head of Group Sustainability at Mediobanca. “This initiative has also enabled us to strengthen our company volunteering activities, in which an increasing number of colleagues from the whole Group are taking part actively.”

As well as redeveloping the outside areas, the project for the Istituto Comprensivo Arcadia also involves launching psychological and emotional support services for the pupils through the Mission Bambini area. This consists of a classroom specially set up with a psychological and educational team offering support to the pupils, both individually and in small groups, and group training sessions with the teachers. The aim is to improve the pupils’ mental health, coming alongside them to help them recognize and manage their emotions, and so contribute to improving their learning processes.

Finally, there is also the project to enhance the computer instrumentation available to another school, the Istituto Comprensivo Ermanno Olmi, in the Dergano area, through the provision of a total of eight smart monitors, to support students and teachers in the “digital literacy” process, equipping the school with the means necessary to place it at the cutting edge in technological terms.