In this inspiring success story, we explore the journey of Elisa Privitera, co-founder of Trame di Quartiere Social Enterprise Community Cooperative, located in the vibrant city of Catania, Sicily. Trame di Quartiere is dedicated to promoting social inclusion and facilitating urban transformation based on the values of inclusivity and diversity. With a background in engineering and architecture, Elisa’s vision of creating a positive impact in the community has led to the birth of this innovative cooperative.
The Genesis of Trame di Quartiere:
The story of Trame di Quartiere is deeply intertwined with the vibrant neighborhoods of San Berillo and San Marino in Catania. The once iconic San Berillo neighborhood had succumbed to the consequences of a failed top-down renewal plan, leading to the destruction of its social urban fabric. What emerged was a community of excluded individuals, including migrants and sex workers, finding solace in the neglected buildings. Elisa recognized the potential to make a difference in this neighborhood, embracing social innovation, and thus, Trame di Quartiere was born.
A Journey towards Social Impact:
Trame di Quartiere began as a community mapping research project, uniting young researchers and local residents. The goal was to create a community map that showcased the social, historical, and cultural values of the neighborhood. As the project evolved, the participants realized the immense potential to create a lasting impact. In 2016, the project evolved into a social initiative and, later in 2020, transformed into a full-fledged Social Cooperative of Community.
Filling the Gaps:
The name “Trame di Quartiere” reflects their fundamental approach—starting from the relations between people as the first step towards meaningful change. This cooperative set out to fill the gaps left by previous attempts at urban regeneration. Instead of focusing solely on gentrification, Trame di Quartiere sought to empower the community by creating a space for people to come together, share their stories, and collaborate on solutions.
Services and Impact:
Trame di Quartiere offers a diverse range of cultural and social services, where both aspects beautifully intertwine. Cultural events, such as book presentations, musical performances, and food festivals, celebrate the neighborhood’s rich heritage while addressing contemporary challenges. Social services include proximity welfare, free Wi-Fi, charging stations, and info points for migrants, offering essential support for those facing housing emergencies.
The Transformation of Palazzo de Gaetani:
A standout accomplishment for Trame di Quartiere was the restoration of the historic 19th-century Palazzo de Gaetani. This majestic building now stands as a vibrant social space, fostering inclusivity and community engagement. It serves as a cafeteria, a cultural hub, and most importantly, temporary social housing for those in dire need. The housing project, providing accommodation to migrants facing housing emergencies, epitomizes their commitment to social inclusion.
Resolving Challenges and Embracing Diversity:
Trame di Quartiere faced its share of challenges, especially when advocating for deeper social change and innovation. Bureaucratic hurdles sometimes questioned the radical approaches they proposed. Moreover, not everyone in the community immediately aligned with their vision. However, Elisa and the cooperative remained resilient, embracing self-reflection and continuously adapting to better meet the needs of the community.
The Essential Ingredients for Success:
Throughout their journey, Trame di Quartiere learned that resilience, collaboration, listening, passion, vision, and networking are vital ingredients for any social enterprise. By involving stakeholders from all sectors, including public and private organizations, and fostering deep human bonds, they created a powerful network of allies and support.
Driving Social Inclusion and Sustainability:
Trame di Quartiere’ positive impact on social inclusion is evident in the strong relationships formed with the residents and migrant communities they serve. By offering practical support, cultural events, and empowerment programs, they empower individuals to organize and advocate for their needs. Furthermore, the social housing initiative provides a safe haven for those in dire circumstances.
A Vision for the Future:
As Trame di Quartiere continues to grow and evolve, Elisa envisions involving more landlords to bring life back to the abandoned buildings surrounding San Berillo. Additionally, fostering a continuous and open dialogue with public institutions will strengthen their ability to effect meaningful change.
The success story of Trame di Quartiere Social Enterprise Community Cooperative stands as a testament to the power of social innovation and inclusion. Elisa’s vision and dedication have transformed the lives of countless individuals, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in the neighborhoods of Catania. By fostering resilience, collaboration, and empathy, Trame di Quartiere exemplifies the true spirit of social impact, inspiring others to embrace diversity and create positive change in their communities.
Watch the story and get inspired:
The story is translated into several language (e.g. English, Norwegian, Turkish, Slovak, Arabic, Spanish, Italian). Regardless your language skills, Inspiring the Minds reaches you. Inclusion is our core value. To read the subtitles in your preferred language, simply follow the instructions below: 1) Activate Closed Captions (CC): At the bottom bar of the video player, locate the “cc” button. Click on it to activate closed captions. 2) Choose Your Language: Once you’ve activated closed captions, click on the settings icon (usually represented by a gear or cogwheel) within the video player. From the settings menu, select your preferred language from the available options.