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With the series of devastating earthquakes that hit central Italy in late October 2016, Camerino, a small city that is home to one of the oldest Italian universities, suffered extensive damage and its medieval centre was evacuated and declared off limits by the Civil Protection authorities.

Five thousand of Camerino’s seven thousand residents have left the city. Most of them have lost their homes, and a great number of businesses have been forced to close. The University buildings and primary and secondary schools located in the city centre of the city were heavily damaged and are inaccessible.

When the city schools re-opened after a month’s suspension, students from these damaged city-center schools were sent to provisional classrooms in schools or other structures that had survived the earthquakes.

In December 2016, with the active support of the E. Betti Elementary School Council and of the “Associazione Raffaello” non-profit organization, we launched the “A Place to Grow” initiative to raise funds to expand the temporary structure set up for the elementary school children, to provide extra classrooms that can also be used in the afternoons and evenings for social, cultural and recreational activities.  Given recent government approval for the construction of new school buildings, our ambition now is to fund a permanent structure for these purposes.

The after-school uses of this structure are particularly important because our children no longer have a place where they can socialize and play. Before the earthquakes, the city centre of Camerino was the civic space where residents could stroll and chat, and children could meet after school to play or just hang out, and participate in various clubs, lessons, and activities. Now that the center is dangerous and off-limits, there is a yearning for a place where children can gather again, a need for a learning place: a place to grow.

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“Le Aule di Raffaello” is a project to build a new quakeproof 150 sqm structure within the new school campus. Room size will be flexible by means of sliding walls and adaptable to multiple activities. Each room will be autonomously accessible from outside to facilitate exploitation of after-school activities.