Programme: Europe for Citizens, Strand 1 “European Remembrance”, kick-off meeting of multi-phase project
Venue: Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Dates: 18—21 October 2021
Please read the kick-off meeting info-pack.
Czech team: Kristýna Liptáková, Lucie Olivíková, Lucie Dušková
From October 18th to 21st, a kick-off meeting organized by Alphabet Formation took place in the Tuscan town of Lucca as a first part of the multiphase long-term project “ANTIDOTE” about equality and inclusive societies. Czechia was represented by three young women who have experiences with volunteering and working abroad in unequal environment. In total, people from 13 different countries got together to establish new partnerships and connections to contribute to the common aim of involving people who are disadvantaged due to their health condition, origin or other circumstances in the daily life, labour process etc.
The meeting started with an informal dinner where we got a chance to get to know each other while tasting various Italian specialities. The next two days were full of actions and even though it was sometimes really demanding, nobody complained because we all knew we have just a limited time for this whole gathering. That was as well the reason why we did not spend much time in the rooms, although the accommodation in the four-star hotel was wonderful.
Over the course of two days, we visited in total 5 different spots that help the inclusion of disadvantaged people or contribute to the sustainability in general. The first was the Terra di Tutti centre which deals with the reuse of old materials and started as a cooperation of local citizens and migrants. Nowadays, teachers and students from the University of Florence are also involved in the activities. During our visit, we had the chance to decorate our own shopping bag while using handstamps that were created from waste. In the end, we could take our creations home with us.
The next stop was the Daccapo recycling centre, where the objects (originally destined for disposal) are repaired and renovated. Renewed products are then sold cheaply or donated to the poor. People with fewer opportunities are also employed in the repair shop. Some of us also bought a few pieces and thus supported the whole idea even financially. Then we met the leaders and workers of the florist’s Agricola Carraia, which employs migrants and mentally handicapped people. We saw
workers replanting the plants, watering flowers, and peeling off the corn seeds from which flour is subsequently produced.
Another visit took place in the accommodation centre Sai Msna (Nostos) which is primarily designated for refugees and migrants under 18 years of age with the possibility of extension depending on the specific circumstances.
Clients can use the services of psychologists and social workers, receive Italian lessons, and can even get a driver’s license. We looked at the accommodation itself and even talked to a few clients in person. Our last stop was Agricola Calafata, a local farm involved in the socioeconomic integration of mentally ill people and migrants. The leftover food is processed, or food is
preserved in here, so that it lasts longer and does not spoil. We received a packet of beans as a gift.
We also managed to get to know the town itself. The organizers arranged for us a city tour with a kind professional guide and let us experience various culinary skills of local cooks within lunches and dinners. The relaxed atmosphere of nice restaurants gave us a space to talk casually and have fun as well. There was a limited number of participants from each country so we could communicate with people from different backgrounds and discuss our cultures a lot.
Although the kick-off meeting was very short, we all perceive it as just a great outset of the forthcoming events and projects involved in the whole Antidote scheme which we are all looking forward to.