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‘L’ is a young woman from the Congo who came to Italy hoping that she could create a life with dignity. Her newly wed husband, a young doctor, stayed behind in their country. ‘L’ has lodged at the parish rectory in the outskirts of Padua ever since her uncle, a resident of Padua, asked her to leave his house.

We met her at the Sportello Donna (desk for the promotion of women) at the Diocesan Caritas. She was looking for a job to support herself. She was lost and discouraged by the trials and tribulations she’d faced, and needed some help and hope to reach her dream of building a decent life together with her husband.

 We suggested that she work in our laboratory for four months so that she could get some a ‘work experience grant’ that would help her support herself. ‘L’ already knew how to sew because she studied with the Salesian

Sisters and learned to sew clothes and use a sewing machine.  From the start, ‘L’ demonstrated good interpersonal skills: she is reserved, shy, calm, but attentive, respectful, and polite to all the other women with whom she shares her work mornings. She has developed beautiful relationships with all the women at the Miriam Project where she feels she is part of a family. Because she is precise, confident, punctual, and uses the sewing machine autonomously, we have offered her a one year work contract.                         

Thanks to the contract she has been able to rent a house, update her residence permit and apply for family reunification for her husband, who will soon join her in Padua. ‘L’ is grateful for the opportunity to improve her life -- and she generously gives her time and shares her knowledge of markets for selling laboratory products.

This experience once again confirms our belief that giving women an opportunity to learn and work in our ‘laboratory’ enables them to improve their life prospects and achieve their desires and aspirations.                                                                       

The community of Porta San Giacomo


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 Published:April 23 2015