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My name is Giorgio and my wife’s name is Maria Pia.

Viaggio in India

At 5:30 p.m. on November 3, 2007, my wife’s and my life suddenly changed. After an involuntary collision with an opponent, our only son Simone, 18 years old, died during a soccer match in the “juniors” category in which he had the position of goalie. Medical aid, which according to witnesses arrived in good time, served no purpose, given that the blow received straight to the chest made the heart stop beating forever, all within the space of a few minutes. “Stress to the vagus nerve” was the doctors’ verdict.

Simone was a healthy boy in every respect. He detested drugs, he loved life and his friends, his family, and soccer—his only huge passion. He saw everything as a fine game, and this often cost him the vexation of some of his severest teachers. He was loyal and fair, so much so that he preferred the uncomfortable strictness of some teachers to the equivocal adaptability of others. He was timid with the girls, expansive with his friends, and reserved at home; but he did not fail to hug us and kiss us still, as he did as a little child.

He was certainly himself, in every action of his.

His premature and unacceptable departure from our lives faced us with two choices: shut ourselves up completely in ourselves, in our despair, and spend the rest of our lives crying before his photograph, or open up our wounded and drained heart, transforming this immense grief into something useful for those who suffer. We are trying to leave this second opportunity.

We left for India on December 20, 2007, for obvious reasons in order to avoid spending Christmas in Italy, with every intention of beginning to spend the money collected during his funeral (instead of flowers), setting up little play areas in the cities that I was already familiar with; actually, in many of these places, children rarely have a place where to play and have a good time, very often they don’t know how to play with other children.

My work as a tour guide, since when I was 19 years old, has had me go around the world far and wide, giving me the great opportunity to see several of these orphanages and schools, that needed this kind of urgent intervention but we came up against other problems. Before thinking of the certainly important playful aspect, we found that we had to solve more urgent problems, such as tiling some rooms, painting the dormitories, obtaining wheelchairs for handicapped children, buying equipment for the kitchen or an emergency lamp for when there is no electricity and they are afraid of the dark, etc., etc. Finally, we had managed to set up a little play park, and the joy that flowed out of the eyes of so many children paid us back for every sacrifice.

Thus begins “Smiling Angel,” .

Smiling Angelthrough gaining awareness of how things really are, of what needs to be done. A non-profit Association that testifies the willing of intervention in this world, in favor of those children who don’t have the chance to live the experiences that could appear normal to anyone, as play, smile, run around and even sleeping on a real mattress… and then learning, studying and interacting… All these things are exceptional for many children who leave in orphanages and similar structures of hosting in Agra, where we started to operate, as in many other places in India and in the whole world.

Our main goal is not to give to these children food or a house; we would like these children could grow up like our children, playing, smiling, studying, even in places where education and developing seem to be only empty and useless words. We know it’s not this way, a lot can be done, a lot can be changed, we experimented it and we still do everyday, since that December of three years ago.

And I want to add something else. I am convinced that if we had not lost our son, perhaps this Association would never have been born. And I wonder if God had not wished to tap hard on my back to get my attention…

Maybe Simone did not die in vain.

Viaggio in India


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