The courses are part of the European project "Pathways". They last two years, see the Italian Red Cross, and the participation of seven other organizations from Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom, at the forefront in the field of migration and assistance to migrant victims or presumed victims of trafficking.
After a month of theoretical lessons and cooking, pastry and cleaning workshops in the Salesian center of San Benigno Canavese, on the outskirts of Turin, the girls were able to do a 60-hour internship and, subsequently, a 6-month stage aimed at job placement.
"Cindy takes care of whipping the egg whites," says Daniela Gilardo, the teacher of the course that everyone calls "Maestra", because Cindy not only creates a perfect product, but she does it by singing and dancing. Good humor spreads throughout the kitchen of the center of San Benigno, where, at the end of the course, the recipes and steps are reviewed and the most difficult names of the ingredients are memorized. The teacher rewrites the doses for the dough on the blackboard, the girls take notes, memorize and, above all, do hands-on practice in the kitchen.
“I learned to cook many things: pasta, pizza and savory pies”, says Siddhi, 42 from Nigeria, who has lived in Italy for many years now. “I enjoy making bread at home, I don't buy it anymore and my children love it.” It is difficult to put behind a past like that experienced by Siddhi, even more to tell it. “I arrived in Italy when I was a child and I didn't realize what was happening around me…” This woman with a contagious smile prefers to look ahead, and trust in a job behind the stove, amid pots and pans, after the internship. And maybe, who knows, maybe even open her own restaurant one day.
“It's impossible to forget what I went through but engaging in this course is a distraction and at the same time a hope,” confides Ritha, mother of a six-year-old boy, also from Nigeria and who also arrived in Italy when she was still a girl.
“A cleaning company, a restaurant or a hotel. I would love to work in the industry after this course. Despite all the pain, life goes on and having people next to me who tell me 'You can do it' gives me strength.”
And Ritha's desire is also to help, through her example, the many girls who live what she experienced years ago.