Getting to know “Il Sicomoro”, a Social Cooperative in Matera

Getting to know “Il Sicomoro”, a Social Cooperative in Matera

“Il Sicomoro” is the Italian translation of the sycamore, which looks like a fig tree and it is very popular in the Middle East. It is a common “character” along the streets in Palestine, where it leaves splashes of colour on those biblical landscapes, apparently very similar to the ones in our Lucania. It has witnessed many chapters of the story of salvation, so that it has become a topos in the language of the Bible. However, sometimes the Sycamore tree turns out as the real protagonist: just like the evangelical episode of Zaccheo, where the Sycamore becomes the linking tool between Zaccheo and Jesus. In fact, the tiny and short Zaccheo ends up into a thick crowd and he climbs the sycamore in order to go over the multitude of people and get in contact with Jesus. With the roots in our land and our territory, we would like to become the right means, which let people make part of a bigger project, creating something capable to “change lives”.

The Social Cooperative Il Sicomoro was born in Matera in 2003 from the planning of Diocesan Caritas and within the Policoro Project. Today, it is active in different municipalities in Basilicata diversifying its interventions in the third sector policies: projects SPRAR and MSNARA for the reception of refugees and asylum seekers; management of nursing homes; job inclusion services for people with disadvantaged backgrounds; rehabilitation services and school support for children who suffer from learning disabilities; projects for the development of the local territory.

 

SPRAR (Protection System for Political Refugees and Asylum Seekers) project

It is a reception program addressed to political refugees and asylum seekers.

The hosts receive a house and a monthly pocket money for food and personal expenses.

Moreover they have access to:

- Italian language course,

- job orientation service,

- legal advice,

- health assistance,

- psychological support, if needed.

Additionally, the operators of the project will write down together with each guest an individual project, where they will consider his/her hobbies and interests, in order to support him/her in an active job quest. There is al so the possibility to fund three or four months of internship in order to support those enterprises which want to hire migrants.

Professional workshops (such as a sewing lab, computer lab, cooking workshop …) and leisure activities (like football matches or theatre lab) are organised for the free time.

The project also foresees activities for the integration as opportunities to interact and work together with the local population (meetings with the refugees in local schools, participation to public events …)

Silent Academy

In 2017 the social cooperative “Il Sicomoro” has been appointed coordinator of one among the 50 projects for Matera European Capital of culture 2019. The winner project has been called “The Silent Academy”: it is a program gathering migrants, refugees and local communities, universities and technical trainings, creativity and public art, everything based on important values such as human dignity, personal identity and social inclusion.

The Silent University is an online platform where refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants can exchange their knowledge. The aim is to reactivate knowledge and competence of those who cannot use their academic background due to the fact that they are living in another country rather than their homeland. This platform offers an academic program with conferences, debates and so on. The first one was born in London in 2012, thanks to the Kurdish artist Ahmet Ögüt. Since then, they have opened new branches all over the world, from Stockholm and Hamburg to Amman and Athens, until the launch of the German version, in 2015 in Mülheim.

In contrast to the Silent University, the Silent Academy conceived by “Il Sicomoro” for Matera 2019 has replaced the online platform with four different locations in Basilicata; moreover, it has completed the training with technical subjects, in addition to the academic ones.

Most of the 300 people we host have practical and technical competencies, which reflect the roots of our tradition basically made of handicraft products. Thanks to them, we have the opportunity to discover our ancient habits one again. We try to give a voice to those who lost it, according to the methodology called by Latins festina lente: rush slowly

Panecotto – ethical bistrot

Panecotto is a place where you can taste different local products and you can even buy the things you like the most and bring them home with you. It is an ethical bistrot because tourists and locals can find there not only the original scents and tastes of our territory, but also real stories and special people.

The concept behind “Panecotto” is the idea to build a new welfare system, trying to carry on activities which can produce incomes to be used to finance other social projects.

Moreover, Panecotto is also a place for inclusion and integration, because the cooperative “Il Sicomoro”, in cooperation with “MEST” organises workshops for the job inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds, like migrants or people with Down syndrome (thanks to the cooperation of the Italian Association of People with Down Syndrome).

Music therapy

Recentely, Il Sicomoro, has also started a new cooperation with the association “Talità Kum”, offering music therapy individual or group sessions for children and for pregnant women. Thanks to the power of music, this discipline will support children with learning disabilities or hyperactivity to face their problems related to the interpersonal relationships. Moreover, a specific set of sessions is offered for pregnant women, so that families can welcome new born in a positive and safe space, full of musical emotions.

Author: Materahub

Share this
Well-being in our cities or why children need to play in the streets Slovak SDG Priorities
Related Posts:

There are results in SDG action!

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 provides insight of the progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Slovak SDG Priorities

On 13 November we at the Pontis Foundation organized our annual CEE CSR Summit in Bratislava and also held a discussion roundtable on SDGs.

Sustainable Cooking

When talking about SDG2, we always talk about how to prevent world hunger and what can be done to save people from it. We talk about ways of helping people who don't have enough to eat and improving the access of all people to a healthy diet, but we rarely speak about one way that can also have a positive impact on ending hunger – sustainable cooking.

That’s Absurd! The “Assurd” risto-pub experience with sustainability

On average, income inequality increased by 11 per cent in developing countries between 1990 and 2010.
Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs and specifically in those related to growth and employment, education, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs.

The Conad sustainability challenge

Conad, the colossal of large retailers, has joined the Ecologistico2 program, devised by ECR Italia, the association that regroups the main production and distribution companies to improve the processes and efficiency of the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer.

Pagpag

Have you ever wondered whatever happened to the left-over food you did not finish in fast food restaurants? You may think they would have been thrown away and discarded for good. But what happens next is something you ought to know.

Community of people to share ideas and projects

Among the trends related to sustainability that have been proliferating in the last years, certainly the shared creative spaces stand out. One of these is “Casa Netural”, a house in Matera in southern Italy, hosting people from all around the world...

SDGs Integration: How to Do It Right?

Current tendency towards sustainability promotes versatile ways for responsibility and integration of SDGs into business models, organizational culture, policy making, urban planning and spatial development...

The Decades Long Quest for a Digital Aristotle

Aristotle was probably the best tutor in the world and the most knowledgeable person of his times. But still his student, Alexander the Great, went on to conquer half of the world. Being smart it seems, doesn’t automatically translate into being...

SDG 2: Sustainable Food Production

Agriculture’s enormous energy consumption is related not only to food production, but also in large part to food distribution. The environmental benefits of organic food production can be lost if the food is constantly being transported thousands of miles to reach consumers. Buying local seasonal food can be an...

Collaboration for the SDGs

Monitoring and encouragement of SDG practices at European level is a challenge, as it is both international and national level activity. The alliance SDG Watch Europe has a goal to hold governments and the EU to account for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It consists of...

The Sustainable Economy Is a Donut!

The objective number 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure sustainable patterns of consumption and production. Why is this an indispensable requirement for sustainable development? Because it is estimated that the world population will reach 9.6 billion by 2050, with this figure we would need the...

Closing the Loop: A Key Business Model for SDG 12

"Unless we go to Circular it's game over for the planet; it's game over for society." These are the opening words of the world’s first feature-length documentary film on the circular economy, called Closing the Loop, due for public release on Earth...

'Microcredit' to Serve the Sustainable Development

Since 2001, the Italian Banking Association has undertaken an in-depth study on the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its strategic importance within the modern banking business model. Consequently, in recent years an...

The Need to Innovate Beauty Industry

Have you ever thought of the highly underestimated cost we pay for everything we consume? And I am not talking here about the price we pay for solely acquiring goods. What I have in mind is slightly more overlooked and all-encompassing, which is each product's afterlife cost, e.g. the amount of resources it takes to...

The Future of Sustainable Finance

Last week I attended the London meeting of the The Future of Sustainable Finance at the G7. The panel of knowledgeable experts provided a fascinating discussion. It touched on many of the areas raised in the detailed 2018 report by the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. For financial institutions, the report...

Are Sustainable Development Goals Material?

The SDGs already achieved the significant work of creating a common platform of targets and indicators shared across governments, institutions, academia, investors, media, and business. And this is not rhetoric. In the past few months, I’ve been in several conversations with business, academia, and investors concerning...

Can We Make Zero Poverty World or Not?

Despite the on-trend rhetoric and optimism, the chances of (all but) ending absolute poverty in our generation are slim. The chances of ending poverty altogether are zero. The closer we get to ending extreme poverty, the harder it is going to be to do it. We're going to have to pretty much end violent conflict...

SDGs for the Generation Z

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 as the universal call to action to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet and ensure inclusion, peace and prosperity for all by 2030. Agenda 2030 is playing a very important role in shaping tomorrow’s living conditions. However, without active individual...

Focus on Sustainable Cities and Communities

Cities have often been a vehicle for generating new ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity and social development, and up to the present they have also enabled people to improve their social and economic conditions. However, many challenges persist to keep city centres as places not dangerous for both lands...

Changing Mobility Habits for a Healthier Life

Contributing to the third Sustainable Development Goal capital city of Lithuania is creating a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) for its inhabitants. SUMP has to encompass various mobility modes and variations and one of the themes of the city strategy is to plan how to change people’s behaviour in mobility...

Food and the Sustainable Development Goals

Food and agriculture feature prominently in many of the Sustainable Development Goals, because they are interconnected with almost all aspects of economy, environment and society, from hunger, malnutrition, desertification, sustainable water use, loss of biodiversity, to overconsumption, obesity and...