Rome

Primavera event gives children in need reason to smile

Funds go for surgeries in India and Iraq

Primavera event gives children in need reason to smile

(By Alina Trabattoni) Rome, June 25 - The 10th annual Associazione Benefica Festa di Primavera dinner and charity auction is to be held on June 26 in the glamorous setting of the historic Villa Miani in central Rome, with all funds being raised dedicated to two important initiatives taking place in India and in Iraq to help alleviate the suffering of women and children. It is the 10th straight year the charity auction is being organized by the three founding members, Federica Di Stefano Zichichi, Isabella Tonini and Maria Gabriella Vismara Curr, and comes after 12 months of hard work carried out to identify the projects the auction intends to support this year, as well as research into their validity and importance in terms of social contributions. The motivation behind the event is tied to the objective of contributing and offering the opportunity and the possibility of a better life to those with difficulty, to those without hope, to whom hope has been denied, according to a press release. This is a real grassroots initiative, the brainchild of three ladies that have been very actively involved in charity work for the past 10 years, said Arturo Bernardini, a spokesman for the event. They realized they were among the lucky ones in life, and wanted to give something back. Past initiatives have involved fund-raising for child protection agency Telefono Azzurro, the building of a school in Dawhan in Ethiopia, funds for Bambino Gesu children's hospital and Sant'Andrea hospital. The wonderful thing is that everything in this charity event, from the first to the last item, is based on volunteer work. From the ice cream to the wine for the dinner, to the prizes, they are all donated, said Bernardini. This means that of what is raised, almost 98% goes straight to the charities instead of paying for a series of costs tied to the organization of the evening. The Festa di Primavera (Spring Festivity) this year will raise funds for the Canossiana Foundation, in favour of the Women's Empowerment for New Development project the institution is currently carrying out in Andhara Pradesh, India. The message our work seeks to transmit is tied to the heart of our institution: we try and help people that don't have access to the material and spiritual support needed to become a protagonist in their own lives, said Sister Liliana, of the Canossiana Foundation in an interview. We try and create the conditions for the people we help to manage their own lives with dignity. It will also raise funds for the Emergenza Sorrisi - Doctors for Smiling Children, a non-governmental organization founded and run by volunteer doctors who have dedicated their lives to giving back hope and a smile to children suffering from grave malformations and other pathologies, as well as war wounds. The focus at the charity auction will be on its Smiles in Iraq project, which will fund some 40 surgeries for children at the Nassiriya Teaching Hospital. The Canossian Foundation was founded in 2004 in Rome, and is promoted by the Canossian Daughters of Charity religious order to assist the poorest of the poor, using the art of solidarity in all the countries in which it operates, according to its website. The foundation is currently present on all five continents, operating in 35 countries, and is made up of 348 Canossian communities run by some 3,000 Sisters, as well as lay people, volunteers and ex-pupils. It is based on the teachings and works of Magdalene of Canossa, who was born in Veronaand. She launched the Canossian Institute in 1808, gathering together the poorest girls in St. Joseph's monastery. She died in 1835 and was proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church on 1988. Emergency Smiles works towards returning a smile and the hope of a better life for children suffering from cleft lip and palate, malformations of the face, burns, trauma, cancer, orthopaedic and eye diseases, according to its website.

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