Italian pupils launch crowdfunding campaign to buy island

The children plan to rename Burdelli Island near Sardinia Isola dei Ragazzi – or the Children’s Island. (Paolo Curto)

The children plan to rename Burdelli Island near Sardinia Isola dei Ragazzi – or the Children’s Island. (Paolo Curto)

Half a euro each for a real-life fantasy island? A classroom of schoolchildren from the Alpine hamlet of Mosso in Piedmont, Italy, are trying to enlist the help of children across the country as part of an ambitious campaign to buy the tiny uninhabited island of Budelli, which lies between Sardinia and Corsica.

According to their Facebook page, the students and teachers of class 2B came up with a crowdfunding campaign to buy Budelli and rename it Isola dei Ragazzi – or the Children’s Island – to ensure that it remains “untouched and Italian”.

Their mission to raise €3-million to buy the island comes after New Zealand banker Michael Harte, reportedly walked away from his own €3-million bid to buy the island, after years of litigation.

“We would like the island for all students of Italy,” the children wrote on Facebook. “We have calculated that if each student from Italian schools contributes 50c, we could have the necessary funds. Of course we accept contributions even from those who are not students.”

They are not the first to cast their eye over Budelli, which is known as the pearl of the La Maddalena archipelago.
Harte had his eye on the island’s pink beaches but was dissuaded from following through on his bid following years of legal wrangling over the property, after its previous owner went bankrupt.

His plan was to make the island a kind of open-air natural history museum, but reports that he also wanted to construct berths for mega-yachts created resistance.

The schoolchildren are going about their mission in a very organised way, according to a local teacher: first the best maths students tried to calculate what it would take to raise €3-million to match Harte’s earlier offer. Some studied the history of the island and others thought of a social media strategy, according to a report on Italian radio station Radio Popolare. This week they were examining options to open a bank account.

Even the mayor of La Maddalena, Luca Montella, is on board with the plan. “It’s a fantastic idea ... maybe it won’t be enough to raise 50c for every Italian student but it would be nice to spread the idea to all the children of Europe.” – © Guardian News & Media 2016

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