Sudan’s poor to get help from new Italian ‘Ape’ scooter-van service

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Khartoum, June 28 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Embassy in Sudan has purchased a classic three-wheeler ‘Ape’ scooter-van made by Italian company Piaggio to help under-privileged groups in the capital, Khartoum, it said on Friday.

“The initiative is about an experiment of intercultural and supportive diplomacy which, in a very Italian style, aims at benefitting the most vulnerable groups in Sudanese civil society,” said Ambassador Fabrizio Lobasso.

“Using a real local icon” the initiative aims “to reach Sudanese people who are most in need and to gift solidarity and friendship from those who desire their happiness and well-being”, he said.

Dubbed the ‘Ape Felice’ (Happy Bee), the iconic three-wheeler was already buzzing about the streets of Khartoum on Thursday and was stopped off at a local orphanage run by the Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity to donate funds raised at a recent bazaar held at the ‘Casa d’Italia’ residence, the embassy said.

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The Al-Raidat (‘Pioneer’) Sudanese women’s association sold food products at the bazaar, which was supported by Italy’s Overseas Aid Department (AICS)’s Khartoum office as part of the ‘Tadmeen’ (‘Fusion’) development and gender balance project, according to the embassy.

Over the coming months, Italian institutions in Sudan are planning to use this common form of local transport to reach bodies, organisations and associations in need and to donate money raised from various charitable fundraising activities, said the embassy.

Negotiations on a commercial alliance between Piaggio and a Sudanese partner are “at an advanced stage,” the embassy said.

–IANS/AKI

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