In Briganti di Catania: when sport changes a neighborhood

“Brigands” invade the Librino district of Catania: don’t worry, they are rugby players full of good will and love for sport! They will show us qhen associations and sports can change the difficult situation in the suburbs.

Viewing Librino from the rugby pitch is a surreal experience: the gray buildings of what must once have been the most famous area of ​​Catania, but is now just a suburb, create a contrast to the green and lively grass. Here, boys and girls, mothers and boys see sport every week as the opportunity to achieve a better future and feel a little Briganti.

Sport to fight early school leaving and withdrawal

Brigantessa Giusy Sipara, tells how the work of her sports association brings more and more vitality to the Catania neighborhood.

“I am a brigandine— Giusy tells – as such, I have to invade the Librino district to transform it: what better way than with sports? The neighborhood, designed in the seventies to be among the most modern in Catania, has never been completed. This area has become decadent, with unfinished buildings and overcrowded in an uncontrolled way: the data of the Anti-Mafia Commission says that on paper there are 15 thousand inhabitants, but in reality they are close to 70 thousand. Violence and school dropouts are very high here. Few venture into the neighbourhood, and this creates isolation in the city network itself. The resignation of families is evident: many people believe that there is no future for them and are consumed by the dangers of outskirts.

In 1997, on the occasion of the Universiade, the San Teodoro Sports Center was created. After the races it remained abandoned. Not only that: despite a project and the collection of 12,000 signatures to carry out sports activities and bring the field back to life, no one listened to us. So the Briganti Association decided to occupy it. Since 2015 we have obtained a free concession from the Municipality of Catania and in the face of vicissitudes and threats we are still here. Our work shows how sport changes life in the neighborhood and how boys and girls see rugby as a chance to liberate themselves. It is never easy to live in a suburb, but thanks to the association created with the inhabitants of Catania, Librino reopens”.

Free sports and help for mothers in Catania

Brigantessa Giusy Sipari in Catania, on the occasion of the press conference to talk about her association picture @erikamattio

“So our adventure continues today— says Giusy proudly – rugby fields are for everyone and we make the sport free up to the age of 18. Males and females play together, because sport should be shared and have no barriers: it is an opportunity that really helps the families in this area of ​​Catania to discover sports and believe in their children’s abilities. That sport it creates skills and becomes a tool. Not only that: mothers can try to play rugby or find a place to talk. This moment helps many of them to confront and perhaps free themselves from a difficult domestic reality. Let’s not forget the third time: after each competition there is a party. Cohesion is created and the opportunity also helps the parents to feel more together.

The city of Catania itself moves around Librino. In addition to the rugby matches that allow us to face other teams from Catania, we have touched everyone’s hearts. Do you think in 2018 there is anyone who has set fire to part of our clubhouse. This crime had a positive shock wave: the inhabitants of Catania moved en masse to Librino to help us. Thanks to a network, we create partnerships with other associations in Catania. I am sure that in the future Librino will return to be the neighborhood that was promised to Catanesi: free and vital as our Brigands are ”.

Leave a Comment