The Bracco Foundation in collaboration with Cesvi and La Rotonda has created "Beyond the margins", a project to support the social-economic integration and health care of vulnerable people in Baranzate, the municipality with the highest concentration of migrant residents in Italy, with the aim to involve more than 2,200 people.
The initiative intends to demonstrate how, thanks to “soft instruments” based on collaboration between local players and communities, you can create genuine integration with the regeneration of the area in mind.
The Municipality of Baranzate has the highest concentration of migrant residents (33% of 11 thousand inhabitants) in Italy and includes a total of 72 different ethnic groups. At local schools 6 pupils out of 10 are foreign-born. 70% of resident migrants live in the Villaggio Gorizia, a small area with a high population density. Baranzate is therefore a place particularly suitable for the testing of new models of coexistence and integration between cultures outlined by the UN Agenda 2030, with particular reference to the objectives 10 "Reducing inequalities within and between countries" and 11 "Sustainable cities and communities".
The broad and integrated action of "Beyond the margins" is based on the promotion of two fundamental rights, health and work. The project aims to improve the living conditions of migrants living in Baranzate through the promotion of an inclusive working model - supporting women in daily work, introducing the "migrant mentoring" tool, creating extra-curricular support services and stimulating the creation of meeting places for women - and working at the same time to respond to new health care needs of the Municipality of Baranzate, providing paediatric care services, awareness and information.
What we have done
Promotion of the culture of basic healthcare among residents in Baranzate - focusing on women and children
For this purpose, different activities to provide previously lacking health services were developed, and at the same time to promote a culture of healthcare especially in the migrant population who, because of the difficulty of access to information or due to cultural and religious differences, has little awareness of the health risks that surround them.
Paediatric help desk "I care" - in collaboration with the CDI
Since March 2016, a paediatrician from the CDI - Italian Diagnostic Centre, part of the Bracco Group, has been based at the healthcare help desk activated by the association La Rotonda at "La Porta della Salute" of Baranzate. The paediatric service is free and available once a week. In order to promote linguistic understanding and reduce cultural barriers between migrant mothers and the paediatrician, as part of the migrant mentoring initiative; a mediator, of Moroccan origin, is on hand to support the provision of basic health information. From March to July 2016 there were 111 visits to the paediatric help desk, most of which were made by foreign-born women.
Pap test and HPV test - in collaboration with the Sacco Hospital and the CDI - Italian Diagnostic Centre
The project provides the opportunity to carry out Pap tests and HPV tests free of charge, with the aim of providing women, particularly foreign and of Muslim faith, access to preventive controls with regard to the early detection of cervical cancer and prevention of the Papilloma Virus.
Cooking workshops for pregnant women - in collaboration with the Sacco Hospital
Awareness of the importance of good dietary choices for the health of pregnant women and their children and the risks associated with following a Western diet for immigrant women is one of the aspects of health promotion that the project aims to achieve. As a result, a series of meetings were set up to teach foreign mothers how to combine Italian foods to achieve balanced dishes that help with their children's growth; this initiative was deemed necessary following the detection of cases of malnutrition by the paediatrician.
Informational meetings to raise awareness - in collaboration with the Sacco Hospital
With the aim of expanding the awareness on the importance of prevention, two rounds of meetings have been established: the first, for the parents of the community belonging to the Parish of Sant'Arialdo, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of administering the vaccine against the Papilloma Virus, the second for adolescents selected by the association La Rotonda on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Supporting the work placement path - focus on multi-ethnic tailoring "Fiori all'Occhiello" (Feather in the Cap)
The support activities for the promotion of a working model as part of the project "Beyond the Margins" focus on "Fiori all'Occhiello", a multi-ethnic tailoring and project of social entrepreneurship, launched in October 2014 by the Association La Rotonda which brings together tailors from different ethnic backgrounds in a close-knit workgroup. Within the project, many services have been implemented with the overall aim to promote the business development of Fiori all'Occhiello, through actions supporting the quality of life of female workers and more generally citizens of Baranzate, in order to contribute concretely to feeding the social fabric of the community.
The scientific instrument chosen as a catalyst to facilitate the process is "migrant mentoring", which foresees the introduction and support of a mentor within the foreign community. This figure shares, relating to the target group, a similar experience of migration, at the same time, however, they have already achieved important goals in their path of integration in the host country, and are therefore a model of success - inspiring and not discouraging - to which they can aim for.
The positive effects achieved from the introduction of the figure of a migrant mentor in foreign communities, with the aim of promoting their integration, are also proven by scientific studies, the main ones are discernible in the development of so-called "soft skills", in the improvement of social skills and self-esteem, in defining their long-term objectives and the ability to create a network of relationships. All this helps to become an "active cog" in society.
The services initiated in this area are: the introduction of a mentor of Moroccan nationality in the multi-ethnic tailor's Fiori all'Occhiello, which has become a reference point for Arab women; the opening of the Caffè delle Donne (Women's Cafe) on 8th October 2016, an informal meeting space aimed at women living in Baranzate, Italian and foreign, with the aim of promoting women's empowerment through services related to looking for work and learning the Italian language; the set-up of the after-school babysitting service for the seamstresses' children; the creation of a series of meetings with the seamstresses' husbands mostly Muslim faith, run by Don Paolo, the parish priest of Baranzate and intended to promote discussion and awareness on issues such as women's empowerment, the difficulties of the integration process, the education of children; the activation of workshops inspired by the Bruno Munari method during the summer months, aimed at children of all ethnic groups, to foster communication through creativity.