Name : Arianna Canta
Brand : Gucci
Note from the sponsor : The outcome of the leather laboratory has to be evaluated very positive. The purposes of the project have been achieved with people constantly involved from Monday to Friday on an average of 5 hours a day, accepting the framework’s rules in which they operate. During my periodical visits to the center la Fenice, I had the chance to see how difficult it is for homeless people to get used again to certain rules of cohabitation: discussions easily can flow into struggles. Despite the fragility and hypersensitiveness of the attendees, co-working between volunteers, psychologists and attendees has shown those moments could be worked out involving them in the responsibility of the structure. This is exactly the same way the laboratory operates: people are responsible for planning, realisation and selling the goods.
And I want to underline that I strongly believe in this kind of laboratories and in the need for more that take out capacities and abilities which are in all individuals and converting them in a productive manner.
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After running for one year, the experimental integration workshop has proved itself and has increased its beneficiaries from 8 to 15. It enables people facing great hardship to find their bearings and positively draw upon their skills and creativity.
To bolster this action, the aim now is to increase the number of participants and trainers and to diversify the activities offered to reach out to a wider population.
The experimental laboratory is located on the premises of Centro La Fenice and has developed several activities:
-Leatherwork according to traditional Tuscany crafts traditions, ecological principles and recycling
-Creation of jewelry from buttons and beads
-Creation of woven lampshades
In parallel, the center provides the possibility for foreigners to learn Italian or to follow computer classes.
Currently 25 people are attending the workshops and classes, lead by 4 trainers and volunteers from the association. The beneficiaries must come 4 days out of 7 and also may independently have access there at other times. This regularity and independence empower the participants and make them capable of making it on their own. The most talented can, in turn, train small groups of beneficiaries.
The items produced are sold one day per week in a marketplace of the municipality of Florence. Each participant sells his or her product(s) and receives the entire sales price. The centre would like to organize the sale of these products on Saturday mornings on its premises.
The majority of the participants are men over the age of 30. All the beneficiaries who are overcoming alcoholism, drugs or psychiatric problems may also turn to the center to discuss, talk, etc. as well as request material assistance for official identification, phone cards, medication, eye exams, etc.
In 2009, La Ronda would like to create a new artistic candle design workshop, a product that is in great demand in the marketplaces and easy to sell. To create this workshop, 2 small kilns will be needed in addition to the molds and small instruments for each of the participants.