The Social Carnival encourages popular participation in Palermo

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The initiative has reached the eleventh edition and fills the most difficult districts of the city with parades and confetti in an effort of inclusion that wants to reach all citizens. Lara Salomone, founder of the Handala Association and organizer of the event, explained us the meaning of this event

In the suburbs of Palermo, abandoned but also animated by the desire for redemption, the Handala Association has been organizing the Social Carnival for 11 years involving schools, organizations in the tertiary sector and citizens to animate streets and alleys with confetti, costumes and parades, in the wake of a change based on the involvement of everyone.

«The Social Carnival has become an event that involves the whole city and during which we organize several parades around common themes», said Lara Salomone, one of the founders of the Handala Association and who since 2008 has worked in Palermo neighbourhoods of Palermo since 2008 to include the most fragile people and offer them virtuous examples of urban regeneration. This year she asked for help the city’s productive forces and citizens to raise the funds for the organization of the event.

«For this new edition – said Salomone – we needed a support to buy confetti and sweets for the shows in program. Last Saturday we organized a very enjoyable solidarity dinner in the district of Ballarò. In that occasion we received the invaluable support of the restaurateurs of the area, who provided food and drink, and of many citizens who participated in our fundraising».

ENCOURAGE THE NEIGHBOURHOODS. It may seem like a secondary party, but Carnival is a way to transform abandoned spaces into places where residents build relationships and put their energies into play to achieve a common goal. One of all, to bring music, entertainment and performance in areas that are usually far from cultural events. «This is not just a party – continued the founder of Handala – but a social path that we start organizing many months before and which serves to enhance forgotten neighbourhoods and involve the citizens». In fact, all of them are called to participate in the many workshop activities by building costumes and masks. «The aim of our Social Carnival is to encourage the participation of people, being confident that each of us is a valuable resource for the community development. We have always worked so that the inhabitants of the most distressed neighbourhoods feel part of a system that can change and improve if we contribute in the first person».

FROM THE WORKSHOPS TO THE THEME PARADES. Active citizenship and civil participation are the “costumes” that the inhabitants of suburbs wear, arming themselves with creativity and desire to do. For months, organizations and educational institutions promote workshops in the streets, squares and school desks, involving the residents to actively participate in the organization of the event. «Every year we choose a different theme related to our reality –explained Salomone. – In the past editions, for example, we dealt with the issue of immigration of those arriving in Sicily, but also of those leaving from here looking for a job. This year the leitmotif is “Spatial Lies”, a theme we use to reflect on the ability of each of us to recognize the lies that are told to us».

«We are facing this theme with children –concluded Salomone – by letting them read a letter sent by Kobi, an alien from another planet, who warns us of an evil and liar character spreading fake news. This malignant figure forces the planets to struggle against each other, does not help those who are facing wars, claims that not all children can go to school and even states that our Earth is immune to pollution and to greenhouse effect». Children have the task of arming themselves with magic wands, helmets and space rockets to protect their thoughts and defend themselves against this false news. 

Translated by Eva Luna Mascolino

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