16 maggio 2012 - Istituto Don Orione - Chirignago, ( VE )
Our country is a very unusual one: it manages to waste, with culpable indifference, some major human resources. This is what I thought back at home after a positively surprising meeting. I have been a guest, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity, of the Don Orione of Chirignago, a small town near Venice, a community whose purpose has always been to serve the common good, through dedication towards the recovery of the life of people who wish to undertake their journey independently. Once they have achieved this, which is certainly neither easy nor obvious, they will unfortunately still face the bitter reality of our country, of its entirely inadequate organization and infrastructure. We should realize, however, that the problem is not only structural but also a cultural one.
I am convinced that the best answer to the tragic suffering which impacts many people with disabilities and their families, is to increase their opportunities for social mobility: by creating the conditions required to work and to become part of the productive world, by making proper accommodation available to them, by making sure they can attend school with dignity.
Our current reality requires us all to step forward: to welcome and to integrate people with disabilities is not only a moral but also an economic duty. In a moment of great crisis, like the one we are experiencing, the contribution of more than 5 million people with disabilities could help address our national debt in a significant way. We must see the potential that lies beyond the limits: a process nothing short of revolutionary for a society that wants to be defined as civilized.
I wish the institutions, public and private, and the people who lead them, would reflect on this goal, making it one of their major challenges.