Empowering women affected by violence as they become autonomous and independent through work.This is the mission of A Vele Spiegate, a project launched in 2022 with the support of Enel Cuore Onlus and led by the Centro Italiano Femminile (Italian Women’s Centre or CIF) of Metropolitan Milan, along with AFOL Metropolitana, the Cerchi D’Acqua Centre for Anti-violence, and Spazio 3R Riciclo Ricucio Riuso.
A Vele Spiegate combines the wide-ranging experience of the project’s partners to assist 25 women from the Milan metropolitan area as they head down a path that will empower them with awareness of their potential and help them find gainful employment in sustainable fashion and tailoring. To do so, the project will involve the women in activities such as coaching and career counselling, technical/professional training, entrepreneurial education and job placement. The goal of the project is in fact to make the women the protagonists of their professional future, providing them with useful tools and knowledge so that they may forge a new career.
‘Since it was founded, the Italian Women’s Centre (CIF) of Metropolitan Milan has worked to boost self-confidence in women and to help them with job placement, exactly as is proposed in the A Vele Spiegate project, of which CIF is the leading institution’, stated Maria Teresa Coppo, Chair pro-tempore of CIF Milan.
Maurizio Del Conte, Chair of AFOL Metropolitano, echoed that goal: ‘This project combines and integrates career counselling, professional training, and skill development with methods and experiences that the various partners have developed over the years. It’s a new type of project, one that starts locally, and which aims to accompany women along a path of autonomy, knowledge and the ability to build their own professional project.’
After a phase dedicated to guidance and discovery of their potential, the women participating in the project will have the chance to learn basic to advanced tailoring techniques at the sustainable sewing workshop of Spazio 3R. They can then take classes aimed at the creation of their own tailoring business, or to re-join the labour force in the world of artisan tailors or fashion industry enterprises.
‘Over the past few years, more than 80 women from 23 countries around the world have passed through the workshop, Italian and foreign women in vulnerable situations that, thanks to tailoring, have rediscovered themselves as women and as professionals, having found the strength to Re-start. This is precisely why we believe in the A Vele Spiegate project, because through concrete action it is possible to stitch together the pieces of one’s life and become part of the social and professional community’, stated Chiara Ceretti, Chair of Spazio 3R.
The training programme will be supplemented by marketing classes to promote the graduates’ professional profiles or entrepreneurial businesses.
Consultancy services will be provided to outline useful social media marketing strategies and to set up a website, which may be transformed into an online sales channel. In addition to career guidance and training, the programme includes an art therapy laboratory. Moreover, the Spazio 3R workshop will be made available to the women involved as a coworking space for the development of ideas and projects.
‘Leaving violence behind often means facing the difficulties that come with finding work’, highlighted Cerchi d’Acqua. ‘Having your own source of income is a fundamental step in regaining your independence. It is therefore necessary to offer the women in the programme a space in which to enhance their skills and goals, without letting awareness of existing practical obstacles and social hardships induced by violence have the upper hand.’
‘It’s an invaluable project’, stressed Diana De Marchi, Deputy Councillor of Labour of the City of Milan, ‘because it is essential to help women who have been subjected to abuse to help them once again become the protagonists of their lives, especially through work as a priority tool of financial independence and social integration.’
‘We’re proud to support the A Vele Spiegate project’, declared Filippo Rodriguez, Managing Director of Enel Cuore Onlus. ‘Its mission is to help women affected by violence rediscover their active role in society. The training programme is guided by an experience and participation-based approach which will help women as they return to the workforce and thus reclaim their independence. Enel Cuore works side by side with the most important entities in the voluntary sector to help people, in this case women, find their place in the community because we strongly believe that the growth of the country must take place through initiatives that place people at the centre and promote the principles of equality and solidarity.’