AINA (acronym of ‘International Year of the Child in Andorra’ in Catalan), started in 1979 as answer to the social work that every sanctuary must assume.
AINA is a social, playful and educative work directed to the children youngsters. Meritxell, in constant collaboration with the Government and the citizens, invests in education. Thanks to that, it works and builts a better future for the country. The mail objectives of AINA are:
- Help the children and youngsters knowing and loving Andorra
- The coexistence between all the children of different parishes, paying a special attention to the integration of young immigrants.
- To develop the creativity of the young people within the present society and through a good range of workshops.
- To develop human and Christian values from a point of respect, effort, solidarity, silence, sensitivity while facing beauty and joy
- To help an develop Faith in children and youngsters
The social work also means the shelter/welcoming of kids whose parents work during the vacations and weekends. The AINA motto says: “In summer no boy or girl without a camp”. With alms that the devotee offer to the Virgin of Meritxell, AINA creates a ‘social rate’ (a reduction of 50%) and creates grants for those children that come from families in difficulties. At the same time, AINA trains young people in the voluntary service. This is a chosen option to give their vacations and endweeks to the education of the children from the leisure point of view. During the scholar year, the sanctuary invests in the training of these groups of young people who will receive a license that will allow them to use later on as a job.
The Parish of Canillo has AINA and Meritxell as two great pillars. AINA is a privileged welcoming area not only for children and young people but also for families. The stay of all these people takes place in the youth hostel and includes a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Meritxell on the `Camí ral'. AINA welcomes more than ten thousand young people during the year. There are five turns of colonies during the summer (from June 22nd to August 30th) and two summer camps for young people of 15 to 17 scheduled.
During the year, AINA and Meritxell program:
- The youth pilgrimate to Meritxell
- The summer ‘acción de gracias’ (thanks giving) by the Borda of Meritxell instructors
- Fall Holydays
- Young Christmas during the third Advent weekend
- Snow games and children´s Christmas (December 28th)
- Three cross-country skiing courses in january and right after Three Kings Day and where they share daily coexistence, sports, young mass and meals
- AINA and Meritxell participate in ‘Manos Unidas Joven’ during February
- Young Easter: that gathers youngsters from Holy Thursday to the morning of Easter Monday. They share prayer, meditation and commitment.
- Spring Holydays
- The pilgrimage of the seven Andorran parrishes where the young instructors provide logistic support.
Without Meritxell, AINA would not exist and it would not be maintained. Without AINA, the Sanctuary of Meritxell would lose more than 50% of its vitality. The objective of making country with the children and young people begins with the knowledge, love and prayer to the Mother and patron saint of Andorra.