Behind the project, are the people. In this column we recount the stories of the leading players of#oltreimargini: the tailors of Fiori all’occhiello, the volunteers of the parish of Sant'Arialdo, the residents of the Gorizia quarter in Baranzate. 

Anna has an open smile, two pale eyes that see the subtleties and can describe them. She has been a seamstress since she was 17, she was born in Bac?u, in Romania, close to Moldavia, towards the north where there is snow at least six months a year.

Anna arrived in Italy in 2003, at the beginning she got along doing odd jobs, in dry cleaners, cleaning homes, then she won the trust of her current employers in a Milan dressmakers. She met her husband in Italy, a Romanian man with whom she has had two girls, eight and three years old.

She met her husband with the help of some girlfriends. The classic “Come on, let’s have them meet”. Anna underlines that her relationship with her husband is based on respect. It couldn’t have been any other way, she says of herself “I am a free woman. I’ve lived that way, my mother always taught me that I must put into practice in life the good things I have in my head.”

They have been living in Baranzate since 2009, and there Anna entered enthusiastically into the life of the oratorio, she met Don Paolo, the charismatic vicar of the church of Sant’Arialdo. Since last year, without giving up her job in Milan, she is part of the “Fiori all’occhiello” tailors of the La Rotonda Association, which brings together in Baranzate tailors of different origins and cultures in a small, united in creative working group. These two activities mean today she can support her family, her husband is currently unemployed.

 “I get on well everywhere, both in Baranzate and Milan. But here I’m at home, we are all foreigners, it’s very nice. I was welcomed at a particularly difficult time. In Baranzate we’re like different flowers in the same bunch.”

Every day there is a positive confrontation with the traditions each person brings. Also as regards work in the tailor’s shop. Some cut fabric to patterns made-to-measure for customers. Others do it freehand, following a creative idea. Anna measures the fabric in centimetres, others in inches: in the daily dialogue it is easy to learn from the others, exchanging a language, a method, a piece of know-how.

Anna begins her days with the confidence she has in everything, setting objectives that she sometimes reaches and sometimes not. But her commitment is always there.

She has won herself some serenity, working on herself and on others, but deep down, constantly, is nostalgia for her home country. “The nostalgia is always there. At Christmas, or in spring when I hear the lawnmower.” Besides, Anna grew up in the country, with the animals, were the coming and going of the lawnmower sets the rhythm of the day.

She tells me about her family: there are seven brothers and sisters, four of them, including her, live in Italy, the others are still in Romania close to their parents. She had a happy childhood, though it was dominated by the dictatorship of Ceausescu. Her father was a telephone engineer, he used to set off, when there was a fault, on his bike in the middle of the night in the cold of the winter.

What Anna has learned from life, through the example of her parents, is that first of all you should give, generously. It is her responsibility to take the first step. Then, “what happens next” depends on other people, from what you have learned to build and transmit. She does the same with her children, who were born in Italy: if they don’t understand, you explain. Her older daughter speaks and writes in Romanian, but can express herself perfectly in Italian. It’s right not to lose your own language, which allows you to remain in contact with your roots, with Romania, with grandparents when you go to see them.

Her children are happy, Anna grew up in the wisdom of an upright family, and tries every day to maintain one with her daughters and husband. Without trying too hard.

“Do you see your children in the future? What do you want for them?” Anna raises her eyes, looks into mine and smiles.

 “Who knows. We’ll let life take its course, everyone has their own road. I never go against the wind.”

Without trying too hard, we said, with nothing accessory. 

The project “Beyond the margins” is promoted by Bracco Foundation,Cesvi  and the Associazione La Rotonda, to support the social and economic inclusion and health of vulnerable individuals in Baranzate, the Italian municipality with the greatest concentration of resident immigrants. To know more click here 

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