Belgium – European institutions open their doors to the “Canillitas” Documentary and its protagonists

Two days in Brussels, with a full agenda of meetings and presentations organised by Don Bosco International (DBI), brought the documentary “Canillitas” and its protagonists to the heart of the European institutions. The Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union, the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (EU), the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Belgium and the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU praised the Salesian work with minors in child labour and expressed their commitment to education to eradicate this scourge.

After Rome, Vienna and Warsaw, and before concluding their international tour in Lisbon, Brussels was the fourth stop for the presentation of the “Canillitas” documentary, the new audiovisual project of Misiones Salesianas, the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, directed by Raúl de la Fuente.

On the intense days of Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October, three of the protagonists in the documentary – young Moisés Liranzo, the educator and director of the “Canillitas con Don Bosco” program Karen Montás, and Salesian missionary Fr Juan Linares – accompanied by Alberto López, spokesman for Misiones Salesianas and producer of the documentary, presented the  “Soñar sin Cadenas”  (Dreaming without Chains) campaign and the  “Canillitas” documentary in several institutional meetings organised by Don Bosco International (DBI).

On Monday morning, the Apostolic Nunciature to the European Union hosted the first meeting. This is how young Moisés told the Nuncio, Archbishop Noël Treanor, about his life, from working on the street as a shoeshiner to the change led by the “Canillitas” program, expressing on several occasions the emotion he felt during his recent meeting with Pope Francis.

The second meeting took place at the headquarters of the European Commission, where Renaud Savignat, member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Jutta Urpilainer (Directorate General for International Partnerships – DG INTPA), showed great interest in the Salesian educational process, praised its pedagogical success around in the world, and admired the collaboration with national and international institutions, highlighting the common points between the actions presented by the director of the program, Karen Montás, and Salesian missionary Juan Linares.

Monday ended with the presentation and screening of the documentary at the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), moderated by the Executive Secretary of the DBI, Sara Sechi, and attended by several civil society organisations and NGOs operating in Brussels.

On the second day of events, the documentary was presented to the European Parliament, thanks to the support of  Spanish MEP Ibán García Del Blanco (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats), who in his welcome message thanked Misiones Salesianas for their work and showed his commitment to promoting children’s rights and the fight against child labour.

In addition to the participation of various NGOs engaged in the educational and social field, several people working in the European Parliament, including three MEPs, also took part in the presentation. A discussion with the protagonists highlighted the potential of the Salesian network in supporting regular migration, based on the integral development of the person and their abilities through quality education.

The ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Belgium and the EU, Iván Ogando Lora, accompanied by advisor Julio Alejandro Rodríguez, also received the “Canillitas” delegation, filmed in the Dominican Republic. Both emphasised their interest in and admiration for the positive results of the programme, which they already knew, and for the young protagonist’s vision of solidarity with reality and dreams.

The last of the six meetings over two days took place at the headquarters of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Council, with the participation of the Councillor for Cooperation and Development, Amaya Fuentes, who stressed the importance of working in harmony with public authorities.

In each of their interventions, the protagonists of the “Canillitas” documentary have been a source of inspiration and hope for the trust they have shown in the work of protecting and promoting the rights of minors. Always in a spirit of hope, Moisés, Karen and Juan also demonstrated in Brussels that it is possible to fight against child labour and that the Salesian Preventive System is a key tool for the full development of young people, their families and the communities in which they live.

Starting next Monday, 16 October, the documentary, together with its protagonists, will be on tour in 12 Spanish cities, until 3 November, to make it clear everywhere that it is possible to put an end to child labour.

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