The recipe book - free download at https://www.salesianiperilsociale.it/menu - is inspired by Margherita Occhiena, mother of Don Bosco and cook for many young people from Turin-Valdocco. "It is a tribute to her and to all mothers who take care of their children even by cooking a 'good meal'," says Fr Giovanni d'Andrea, President of 'Salesians for Social Affairs'. "And it is also a way to be in solidarity with the girls welcomed in the 'House of Women' of Messina, which we support in its activities aimed at (helping) victims of violence or with serious family difficulties."
It was, in fact, some of the very guests of the structure - Paola, Sabrina, Sara and Miriam - to write the recipes, expressing in its pages their desire to live and rise again, and also to share their painful experiences, whichunfortunately are much too common still today.
The "House of Women", the center that hosts them, was established in 2004 on the initiative of the "Italian Social Reinsertion Committee" (CIRS Onlus), member of "Salesians for Social Affairs". In a reality that is among Italy's poorest, with high levels of unemployment and a serious lack of services, the structure is a safe house where these young people can be helped and assisted through psychological, legal and medical support and, above all, where they can raise their children in peace - many are single mothers.
The center not only offers hospitality, but also vocational training and job placement: thanks to the donation of an industrial kitchen, in recent years the women guests have also started a catering service, which allows them to be more economically autonomous.
Since - in 2017 - the region of Sicily has cut its funds for anti-violence centers and asked to sell the building run by CIRS, the managers of the "House of Women" have launched the #1CASAPERILCIRS campaign with the aim of buying the building so as to continue to provide its services. Solidarity and support is not lacking, but the path is still long and tiring, and the "Salesians for Social" want to be by their side, of the "House of Women" of Messina.