Text and images kindly provided by Retake Roma www.retakeroma.org . English translation and simple clarifications provided by EcoTourist Italy.
Retake Roma is an nonpartisan association of volunteers that promotes the care of common areas of the city, such as schools, green areas, roads, street furniture (benches, post boxes, light poles, etc.), and public markets, through the active participation of locals and tourists alike.
Our aim is to demonstrate that in a cleaner, more orderly city where the minimum rules of civil cohabitation are respected, Romans can live better, work better, learn better, and grow better.
We are organized in neighborhood groups, and each week we organize interventions in different zones of the city with the help of individual citizens, local associations, schools, work groups and institutions. By organizing ourselves in neighborhood groups, we are able to cover more ground from the historic city center to suburban areas and to tailor projects to the specific needs of the diverse districts. Above all, this approach allows us to optimize resources, better utilize the diverse knowledge of volunteers, and gives adequate space for creative thinking.
Why do so many volunteers each week decide to take to the streets to clean up a park, repaint a light pole, or simply sweep a street? As the name of our organization says: to retake Rome, to make it ours again, to not lose the ability to distinguish what is beautiful from what is ugly, to teach our children to respect it, and to convince institutions to do more and to do better. And because we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of our city.
What we have learned over the years of “militancy on the road” is that there is a great yet largely unexpressed desire to participate in community life, that too often gets lost looking for the right channels to get involved. There are so many people searching for the right opportunity to get out there and participate, who don’t know where to start, who are skeptical of organizations or afraid of being manipulated, but who at the same time have big ideas and great generosity.
The message we want to convey is that everyone can do their part, no matter their age, strength, or profession, and regardless of how little time they have available to volunteer. What matters is the initial spark, learning to feel responsible for what is happening around us, and considering public spaces as communal and not belonging to one individual. And if these spaces belong to everyone, they also belong to us, so we should take care of it.
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