Covid, Specchio back at providing PPE to hospitals and public assistance services

Specchio dei tempi returns to the field against Coronavirus. In the last weeks, requests for public assistance have become pressing again for the many ambulance services that provide transport for the sick to and from hospitals, to and from medical tents, to and from intensive care. We were ready because we hadn’t excluded the possibility of a second wave of the epidemic so we had set aside about 150,000 face masks and other PPE items during the summer. We have stepped up deliveries of supplies to health professionals following continued requests for help. In recent days ambulance services have come under pressure and we have been able to respond.

The first delivery has been made to the Green Cross of Villastellone, one of the most active organizations in the area, also engaged in the city of Turin. “As in any emergency – explained the president of Specchio dei tempi, Lodovico Passerin d’Entreves – our foundation makes itself available to the community. Ours can be a small help in the face of a great tragedy, but the commitment will always be maximum ensuring the highest speed of intervention, compatibly with the resources available”.

Then the Maria Vittoria and Martini hospitals have been supplied with Pulse oximeters. Two hundred face masks have been given to the volunteers of Telefono Rosa, who work against violence towards women, often in difficult situations in hospitals. Specchio dei tempi has also provided 1000 face masks and 30 high-protection water-repellent suits to the White Cross of Ceva.

In the first wave of the epidemic, Specchio dei tempi raised almost 11 million euros, constantly supplying Piedmontese hospitals and public assistance services for months with over 1 million protective devices, hundreds of pieces of equipment, ultrasound scanners, ventilators, as well as two CAT scanners. Specchio also distributed over 18,000 food packages to as many families and elderly people in difficulty and over 1000 tablets to poor schoolchildren to facilitate distance learning. Specchio also hired a Boeing to allow the arrival, from Havana to Turin, of the group of 40 Cuban doctors and nurses who worked in the Covid emergency hospital in Turin.

The new A&E area of the Mauriziano hospital lacked a defibrillator and Specchio dei tempi immediately intervened with Piemonte Cuore (thanks to Marcello Segre) providing the department with one of our spare automatic defibrillators.

We are on the front line. Every day.

Genoa, Specchio d’Italia opens an after-school programme for the children of Fegino

The comeback of Covid hinders school, children and families. It is becoming increasingly difficult to create useful, child-friendly teaching. There is a lack of space, technology, even human presence. The Specchio d’Italia Foundation (born by the will of the Turin-based Specchio dei Tempi Foundation) has therefore decided to intervene also in Genoa, after Turin and Rome, to carry out a project started yesterday that helps with homework and after-school activities. It also wants to be a concrete and effective presence alongside young students who are now more alone than ever.

The initiative was developed with the collaboration of Ceis Genova (Bianca Costa Bozzo Solidarity Centre Foundation) which has chosen to operate in the V Valpolcevera quarter of the Fegino area with Specchio d’Italia that finances the project. The main objective of the project is to sustain and support families in this delicate historical-social moment in concrete and everyday aspects.

The experience of the Specchio dei tempi Foundation in the areas of the metropolitan city of Turin and in the Bastogi district of Rome facilitates and supports similar and replicable work in the Genoese area. The educational commitment to children will be the starting point for a series of intergenerational activities to promote well-being, such as monitoring the needs of families and the entire territory. The premises of the oratory of the Church of Sant’Ambrogio di Fegino have been identified for the project activities. The classrooms are fully usable and allow for the appropriate interpersonal distancing in light of the measures to combat and contain the Covid-19 epidemic. The activities started with the mapping of the bodies and associations of the area that have been invited to suggest recommendations on the project. They are followed with the involvement of school managers and teachers for debate on the school programmes and the situations of greater fragility.

The collapse first of the Morandi Bridge and then the Covid-19 pandemic put Fegino in great difficulty. It is a neighbourhood that until a few years ago hosted important production activities and which now needs to be supported in order not to lose ground with respect to the rest of the city. The Specchio d’Italia project is what the area needed. The foundation’s commitment was appreciated above all by the educational world that actively participated in the project, explaining what the most urgent needs were. It was decided to focus on after-lesson activity, to provide the tools necessary to implement what has been lacking in these months with remote lessons, even to those who don’t have the tools. In short, children and young people who need not to be left alone after two difficult years will be helped. The outbreak of infections is making it even more complicated. There was no shortage of structures, but there was a lack of resources to bring them up to standard. This has been done by involving the church of Sant’Ambrogio, closing the circle of an initiative that embraces the whole neighbourhood.

Yesterday afternoon, the real school support for children between the ages of 6 and 14 also started, with individual and group guidance with homework and training support for children and teenagers from the school of first and second levels. From November, the reinforcement laboratories for school support activities will also start with the organization of thematic laboratories for the reinforcement of logical-mathematical and linguistic learning and transversal skills.

As mentioned, it is only a first step. The plan of the Specchio d’Italia Foundation is intergenerational and therefore will not only affect young people. Particular attention will be paid to the elderly. Initiatives are already being studied to create points of aggregation and to give new life to a neighbourhood that in this way feels less alone. From here Fegino can think of leaving behind these two years and more of hardship.


Floods in Piedmont, subsidies are rising: we will help 65 companies

Seven hundred and fifty donations, large and small, for a total of 337,207 euros. These numbers demonstrate the solidarity of the La Stampa-Specchio dei tempi Foundation, close to the people of Piedmont hit by the flood of a month ago. The vast majority of interventions have been made in the Cuneo area and have increased in the last few hours (also thanks to a new important donation). Specchio dei tempi has in fact decided to extend the 3000 euro contribution to all 65 activities that participated in the tender (launched in recent weeks with Reale Foundation, Confartigianato Cuneo, Banca Alpi Marittime), an important gift that could be used to meet the primary expenses of the most damaged small businesses, artisans, commercial and agricultural. Many bank transfers have already been made, the others will be sent within a few days. The tender was open to small and very small entrepreneurs from the eight areas of Cuneo most affected. The municipality that sent the most requests was Garessio with 25, followed by Limone Piemonte with 16, Ormea with 13, Ceva with 6, Bagnasco and Pamparato with 2, Priola with 1. There was no request from Nucetto.

All those who participated will receive the Specchio contribution as a gift. This was also made possible by a generous donation of the Industrial Union of Turin: “After the contribution that last March – explained the leaders of the Turin association – the Industrial Union of Turin and the Turin trade union secretariats of CGIL CISL UIL donated to the Turin hospitals to support the Covid emergency, the same Associations jointly donated 35,000 euros to the Specchio dei Tempi-La Stampa Foundation in Turin to support the populations who were victims of the floods that hit some territories of the Piedmont Region in October last year. With this donation, the role of the Committee that was established since 1994 on the occasion of previous natural disasters to jointly raise funds for the aid of structures of common interest affected by disasters, supporting them economically, has been fulfilled “.

But the good news doesn’t end here. In the days immediately following the flood, Specchio dei tempi visited the premises of the Ceva Professional Training Centre. An allocation of 10,000 euros was decided, immediately delivered, to which Specchio has now decided to add another 50,000 euros to allow the purchase of a numerically controlled machine, essential for the training of the children. “We are happy with this choice – explained Mario Barello, the general manager of CFP Cebano Monregalese – which will allow us to fully resume all our activities soon. The CFP has three operational offices in the province of Cuneo: Ceva, Mondovì and Fossano. In the last years of training, in the three locations, a total of around 5000 people (young people after middle school and adults for retraining and professional updating) have turned to various training activities. If we consider the Ceva headquarters alone, there have been over 2,000 people. As regards the activities related to the mechanical sector of the Ceva site alone, the students who use our laboratories exceed 200 per year on average, including adults “.

Specchio dei tempi then decided to carry out some minor interventions in favour of two hard hit businesses in the municipality of Lisio, somewhat forgotten in the days following the calamitous event, despite extensive damage. In line with further developments of the subscription, the La Stampa Foundation intends to evaluate the possibility of intervening also in Val Gesso, in the Maritime Alps Park, to support green tourism that could restore economic momentum to this area. At the moment these are only ideas which could however become reality if the solidarity of the subscribers allows it.

This is what we have recently added to the previous interventions: kindergarten and walkway in Ceva, multifunctional area in Nucetto, Pollicino park in Ormea. But what we are proudest of is the aid to 65 small businesses in the Cuneo area to which we have given a little respite, together with our friendship and hope.

Rome, how we will help the children of the Bastogi suburbs

Specchio d’Italia, the foundation born out of Specchio dei tempi, is involved in projects in six regions. The most complicated challenge is in Rome: the fight against early school abandonment in the Bastogi district, considered the most difficult in the city. Micro and baby crime, poverty, social hardship, abusiveness, violation of school obligations are the opponents to beat to give dozens of children a more peaceful future, within the law.

Strengthened by the experience gained at the former Moi and in the northern districts of Turin, we have obtained and created a classroom to host four afternoons of homework assistance per week. And we have also furnished it according to the latest anti Covid regulations, with the Friends of the Children Onlus association.

Specchio d’Italia inaugurates a new project for students in Milan

Specchio d’Italia inaugurated the “Scuola Bottega” project in Milan this morning. This is the first that the new foundation, born from Specchio dei tempi, is building in the Lombard capital thanks to the important contribution of a Milanese donor.

“Scuola Bottega” is a historical school-work course for the recovery of the middle school certificate, dedicated to girls and boys at high risk of leaving school early. Launched sixteen years ago by the Cooperativa La Strada, it aims to combat school abandonment when students are one step away from qualifying from middle school. In close collaboration with the staff of “La Strada”, Specchio d’Italia is now supporting and developing this initiative, to give hope to the most fragile young people.

The educational course, also capable of offering experiences of approach to the world of work, lasts one school year (October-June). The pupils, indicated by the schools and subsequently selected, remain formally enrolled in the schools of origin but attend the premises of the cooperative throughout the year. The programme involves 15 children between the ages of 14 and 17. The indications of 14/15-year-olds, still in compulsory schooling, come only from middle schools (lower secondary schools) through the definition of an individualized project that provides for the maintenance of enrolment and the examination of the middle school certificate at the school of origin which maintains ownership of the school and training course, ensuring monitoring and conclusive evaluation. The signalling of 16/17-year-olds comes from various institutions in the area: schools, host communities in the Milan area (often dealing with unaccompanied foreign minors) and other bodies that intercept children in the educational and welfare fields.

As compulsory schooling for the children of this group has lapsed, they are enrolled at the Permanent Territorial Centre of the Area and will have the opportunity to take the Middle School Certificate exam through a specific agreement. The class group is therefore not homogeneous in terms of age and personal paths, but shares the same strong motivations and the final goal: the individual stories and different basic skills flow into common experiences, in everyday life that is always oriented towards sharing and respect, in an active learning way that everyone acquires starting from their own personal experience. In this continuous “dialogue” between the dimension of the class group and the individual path (which each person checks at their home school), the tutor, the teachers, even the employers that are met in the Internships are the adult figures able to teach but also guide the children towards the goal.

Tianyi Lu wins the Cantelli Award: “I give it to you, you have to help others”

by Barbara Cottavoz, from La Stampa of 14 September

“This competition saved my life: during the lockdown I lost all my work commitments and I could no longer study due to the sadness of the situation the world was going through.” Tianyi Lu, 30, is the winner of the Cantelli Prize for conductors. She is the new heiress of the Novara maestro who died in a plane crash in Orly in 1956. Small and tough, she was born in China, lived for a decade in New Zealand where part of her family is, spent confinement in England alone and in June moved to The Hague but she also speaks a little Italian. She is conductor in residence at the Welsh National Opera and the St Woolos Symphony in the UK and, until last December, she was assistant conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. On Sunday, at the Cantelli prizegiving, Tianyi Lu also won the Orchestra Prize of the Teatro Regio Torino and the Youth Prize awarded by a jury of students and artistic writers to conduct a concert at the Coccia Theatre Foundation and one at the Teatro Regio Torino.

Did you already know the maestro Guido Cantelli?

“I discovered his story many years ago and it struck me a lot. When I learned of the online competition, I decided to sign up. It was not a competition with others but with myself: I was in a very sad moment”

What did this award mean?

“For me, the Cantelli Prize meant hope for the future after difficult months in which the pandemic had caused the cancellation of all my engagements and I wasn’t even able to read music, I saw everything black. When they invited me, I tried to get to know Turin and Novara better and I was very struck by the courage with which this region was fighting the pandemic. So, from the start, I decided that if I won I would donate part of the prize to charity”.

Who did you choose?

“I decided to donate to the “Specchio dei tempi” foundation because it supports the elderly and people in need. In this difficult moment, we need to help each other. It is natural to be afraid but we must not give up hope”.

What was the best aspect of this experience?

“I loved the orchestra of the Teatro Regio: its musicians are very generous and friendly and I found myself in total harmony with them. I felt at home”.

You seem to dance on the podium…

“When I get on the podium I feel like a child playing with music and discovering its infinite possibilities. Every time I go on a journey with the orchestra to discover this wonder. Music and art must survive, without them we risk forgetting who we are”.

Floods in Piedmont: how to help Italy

Specchio dei tempi has always helped the Piedmont population, especially during the most difficult times. La Stampa Foundation has in fact decided to open a new subscription in favour of the citizens of the areas that have been struck, on the 2nd and 3rd October, by the violents floods.

For the Foundation this is a sad tradition as, back in 1994, we raised over 25 billions of Italian liras to help the flood victims of the area of Tanaro.

Once the subscription was launched, the response from private individuals has been quick and extremely generous. In addition, the Foundation has made available 50,000 euros, this will make sure that the first interventions can be done in the next hours. In the meantime, the first site inspections have been done in the different territories and we have located a series of possible interventions that can be done. The final decision will be also determined by the result of the fundraising that is currently open.

We will pay particular attention to the schools and communities, in order to help the social life and the community to get back on their feet.

Some of these areas aren’t new to Specchio: in Ceva for example, we are considering the reconstruction of the Training Centre and the kindergarden, both taken away from the flood. Including the reconstruction of the Tanaro pedestrian bridge, which was reconstructed by specchio back in 1994.

We are considering to intervene in the multi structure in the Gurei Park where the civil protection has the headquarters. Garessio is also an area of interest, as many commercial businesses have been destroyed by the water.

We are also willing to help the Pollicino playground of Ormea (known as “the children’s city”) and the nearby camping area. At Limone Piedmont we wish to help reconstruct the central roman road, heart of the city.

In order to do all of these things we need your help. You can donate online just here or on our Global Giving project.

Arquata, Specchio’s school ready for a new year

Yesterday the first bell rang again at Arquata del Tronto, in the school that we managed to build thanks to your help. The children now attend lessons in an anti-seismic and eco-friendly, fully wired building that is now used as a model for new constructions. “This space is able to guarantee that all the rules of social distancing, implemented due to the Covid-19 emergency, can be followed” explains Mr Ermano, an elementary school teacher that is eager to get back in class: “I am thrilled to start my lessons again, and so are my students”. The complex, which also includes the gym, built by Specchio dei tempi, includes up to 60 children: inclusive of kindergarten, elementary and middle school students.

To help the victims of the earthquake we have already raised over 3 million of euros, but our commitment doesn’t stop here. We are also supporting the families with a cheque equal to 2000 euros for every newborn, and the enterprises that are struggling to get back on track. After 4 years from the tragic event, Specchio dei tempi stands beside Arquata and keeps supporting its population.

Covid, Specchio launches a tender to support Venice’s small businesses

When we think of Venice we immediately think of Italy. It is one of those words that connect our country to the rest of the world. Right now Venice is suffering more than other cities. This is due to a series of dramatic events that have happened over the last months starting with the floods in November and followed by the lockdown due to the pandemic in March. Consequently, international tourism has decreased exponentially due to the new health regulations penalizing a city that was already living in a painful situation.

Venice is struggling to survive and Specchio dei tempi couldn’t stay still and watch. This is why the Foundation, through the project “Specchio d’Italia”, has decided to intervene. “We have decided- explains Lodovico Passerin d’Entreves, President of the Foundation – to replicate the initiatives that have already taken place to help the small business of Turin, Cuneo and Sassari and have launched a tender in support of the small enterprises of Venice. The initiative aims to donate 3.000 € each. These donations want to be perceived not only as an economical help, but as a representation of the love and affection towards this extraordinary city”.

Specchio dei tempi has made available a fund of 60.000 euros to which will be added all the donations arriving from private citizens, businesses, authorities and associations. Our hope is that this initiative will touch the hearts of the guests that will be visiting during The Venice International Film Festival during which the Foundation will be present by illustrating their initiatives. The tender Venice Again will be launched on the 1st of September. Twenty days will be available for the enterprises to participate online, one week later the winners will be announced and the aid will be erogated starting the first week of October. Every phase of the project will be meticulously told on our website, social media pages and the accounts of La Nuova Venezia, the local newspaper. This initiative is a concrete help in support of the small businesses (restaurants, artisans, shopkeepers and small entrepreneurs) that represent the heart of Venice.

How our Pet Therapy project is making special needs people smile again

The elderly in nursing homes, cancer and Alzheimer patients, children and young people with disabilities. When they see the dogs of the association “Aslan – The bond with the animals” arrive, everyone suddenly smiles. And they let themselves be carried away by the enthusiasm of Noah, Patch, Tsar, Holly and Rhum, extraordinary dogs that together with the companions, veterinarians and educators, are the leaders of our pet therapy. A project coordinated by the pedagogist Antonia Tarantini, which Specchio dei tempi started in 2015 in the hospices and today includes various initiatives all financed by the foundation.

The recipe is always the same: pampering, complicity and professionals who guide dogs in their work. We are present in nursing homes in Turin, in the north of Italy, where we have brought relief to over a thousand elderly people. We are present in the Alzheimer Cafés of the city, where we involve the sick and their families who seek moments of serenity in these help centres. We are at the Istituto di Candiolo, an international reference for cancer research and treatment: here we carry out support activities for patients undergoing chemotherapy, an operation conducted with scientific rigor, in line with the precise indications of the Ministry of Health. Above all we are in 15 schools (from kindergarten to high school), to offer students with special needs an hour of games and affection every week. The meetings are individual and for each pupil Aslan defines a training course together with the teachers and the parents.

Our “Pet School” didn’t stop even during the Coronavirus Emergency, because we know that the support of the dogs for these families is essential. We therefore found new premises, to overcome the impasse of closed schools and continue to give hope.

Covid, Specchio raises over 10 million euros

By Angelo Conti & Francesca Giannotti

10 million euros raised. This is an incredible record as this is the most conspicuous fundraising organized by a private foundation in Italy. Sara is the name of the donor that has brought our subscription to exceed the 10 million of euros. This outstanding milestone has been possible thanks to almost 16.000 single donations also thanks to the many donors who have tipped in from over 100 countries. We cannot forget about the multimillionaire contributions that have been done by Lavazza and the Agnelli family.

Specchio’s team took action immediately in the first week of March in the healthcare sector. We committed to help doctors and nurses in distress during the violent emergency. Our focus was on finding PPE materials and other medical equipment that have all of a sudden become impossible to find. During the 60 days following the subscription, we have donated two CT machines and 146 avantgard machineries and equipments for 19 hospitals in the Piedmont Region. These include 68 pulmonary ultrasounds and monitors, 41 bed for the intensive care units, 27 equipments for the different units, 6 software instruments, 2 radiology systems. We have also supplied 1.013.752 PPEs that inclus, masks, coats, gloves, goggles, visors and she covers for 136 healthcare structures.

This intervention has absorbed almost half of our resources, while the rest of it has been strategically divided within different sectors such as the schools,the families and elderly in need. In the education sector, we took concrete action by donating one thousand tablets to 30 schools in Turin. This initiative was thought to help those children in need to keep up with the program and stay connected. We have also donated 300 sanitizing kits and billboards with the safety instructions to the schools in order make sure that they are ready to welcome the students back.

On a social scale we have assisted, together with the staff of our front office Specchio Point, thousand of families and elderly in need. In March we have started organizing the distribution of numerous grocery bags that have been delivered directly on the doorstep of these families.  This project is now evolving into the project of Specchio d’Italia.Thanks to the contribution of Reale Group and the Group Cassa di Risparmio di Asti, we will continue with this service in 18 cities in 5 different Italian regions. In the next weeks we’ll be distributing up to 16.800 grocery bags.

Given the situation it is essential for us that our territory gets back on track. This is why we have, together with the contribution of Reale Mutua, launched a grant to help 220 small business in the area of Turin. The same initiative was thought for Cuneo, in the world known Langhe area, together with the support of the local banks and enterprises. The support that has and keeps on arriving from abroad is still incredible. The Intelligent Change of Los Angeles, California, by selling planners online, have donated 3575 US dollars in favor of Specchio dei tempi. Donations keep on arriving from Germany, Bangor (Maine), Norway. All with different amounts but always accompanied by words of support.

In 100 days the foundation has raised over 200 thousand euros from 67 different countries from all over the world. To name some: Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Spain, Norway, South Africa, Brazil, Canada Japan, India and  Iraq. This is probably due to the 65 years of tradition dedicated to hard work in helping in case of natural disasters all over the world, but also thanks to the contagious solidarity that has been spread on the internet.  Our website, in fact, has been translated not only in english, but also in chinese. This gave us a chance to tell our story also in China and touch the hearts of many generous people who have donated over 10 thousand euros. Germany and the UK have been, up to now, the most generous countries after the United States who have reached almost 600 donations and 90 thousand euros mostly through the  Global Giving platform. This sums up to 10%  of our donors.

What has touched our hearts is not only the outstanding numbers, but the words arriving from all over the globe. Forbes has listed Specchio as number one Onlus Foundation for donations in Italy. Which is a great honor. We can’t get enough of the incredible heartfelt messages that we keep on receiving from the donors that are doing the best they can to help.  Ali Said has done what he could by donating 2 euros accompanied by a sweet message: “I wish I could do more but I am a poor man from Turkey with a minimum salary”. A man from Thailand sent s a heartwarming letter: “Dear Italians, I am sending you love, light and hugs. Especially to the sick, to those who have lost their dear ones during the pandemic and all of those who are fighting daily against this virus”. Salam promises to send 600 euros from Bahrain and says: “Don’t ever think that the world is turning their back on you. We are here to support you in the best way possible. Stay strong Italy, you’ll win against Covid”.

Covid, Joan Baez donates to Specchio 50k dollars

Everything started around the end of March, when the nation was caught in a tight lockdown. Covid-19 was spreading fast throughout the world causing pain, death and poverty. In the kitchen of her home in Woodstock, California, at the untamable age of 79 years old, Joan Baez sat in front of a camera with her guitar, and dedicated us a song in italian. In that particular time Italy was under the spotlight: “seeing those videos where the italian people sang from their balconies is source of inspiration. I’ll sing for you”. She was talking to us, and she sang Un mondo d’amore, a song she learnt from Gianni Morandi years ago.

The singing balconies is a phenomenon that will remain impressed in people’s minds for centuries, but in the meantime it lit the fantasy of the greatest folk artist of all time who has kept Italy in her heart since the 60’s.

After singing for us, Ms Baez has taken action in another way. Back in 2018, she decided to withdraw from the scenes and stated: “I’ve changed hobby: I’m dedicating myself to painting”. Just like that, Joan Baez concretely took paper and colored markers: a bell tower, clothes hanging from the balconies under the sun, colored flowers and the profiles of the italians singing, and most importantly the writing: “Viva Italia!”, the title of her masterpiece.

The drawing was posted on Facebook, and on the 25th of April, the artist announced that given the numerous request, 100 copies had been made to be sold. “Inspired by the videos of the singing citizens, where you could see the Italians united by music and in their spirits. All the copies have been personally autographed by Joan”. Then, a surprising announcement: “all the income will be donated, through Global Giving, to the the Foundation Specchio dei tempi, who is committed in helping the country in the fight against Covid – 19”. The donation of 50 thousand euros, has arrived a couple of days ago.

The Foundation Specchio dei tempi was born back in 1955 as column of the local newspaper, La Stampa, directed by Giulio de Benedetti. Telling stories of the daily lives of society and much more. In 1976 it became an actual Foundation that received donations and that handed out concrete help to those in need, both in the neighborhood and around the world.

Lodovico Passerin d’Entrèves, president of the Foundations, states: “Seeing that our work has caught the eye of a world known artist like Joan Baez pushes us to do more in taking concrete action and delivering help to those in need”. He is not much surprised, though, of the popularity of the Foundation in the US: “We have received numerous donations on Global Giving and support from America back in 2016 following the Earthquake in Central Italy”.

Global giving is in fact considered an institution in the US. Great online donations go through this platform, including the generous support of Joan Baez and other 473 Americans. In order to push the campaign, Specchio has worked hard on a targeted social media campaigns that have reached 67 different countries around the globe. These contributions have helped reached 7 millions within the month of March.

Being mentioned as the first go-to Foundation in Italy on Forbes has definitely helped spread the word of our work abroad and has reinforced our credibility.