Giving Tuesday was started back in 2012 in America as a direct response to consumer culture. It has now expanded to become an international day of giving that falls right at the start of the Christmas and holiday season.
Its serves to provide an antidote to the unbridled consumerism seen during Black Friday and Cyber Monday over in the States by sharing and celebrating acts of kindness great and small online, as well as orchestrating and organizing positive action out in the real world.
Giving Tuesday is an invitation for people all around the world to use their social media platform as a way to make a difference. It harnesses the power of bringing people together, offering people a platform to present their ideas for change within their community, as well as a way to find and get involved with existing projects. Each and every one of us has something to give and Giving Tuesday is an invitation to donate not just our money but also our time, our love, a smile or a tweet, or maybe just our seat on the bus.
The 28th of November will be an opportunity for the world to focus on unifying acts of kindness.
A path into the feminine ways
San Patrignano is unique within the recovery world. It is Europe’s largest community, housing over 1300 recovering addicts completely free of charge. They offer health care, legal assistance, an opportunity to go back to school and most importantly a home to those entering the program. Residents learn both professional and social skills that will help them fully reintegrate back in to society once they finish. Upon entering the community, they are allocated a sector, where they begin learning new skills or expanding on skills they already have. Be it plumbing, printing, or working in the heat of the kitchen, the work they do is not just practical but also therapeutic because within each sector the real work is learning how to live with their peers, learning how to confront the social anxieties and insecurities that lead them to use drugs in the first place.
San Patrignano is divided into over 50 sectors, the largest female sector being La Lavanderia. They play an important role within the community; they are responsible for washing all the clothes, bed sheets and linen for each and every resident. Fundamentally however, the sector provides a platform upon which the girls can rebuild a relationship with themselves. Aurora is one of these girls, thick curly hair and intense brown eyes. This is her story.
“The most beautiful memories I have of my childhood are all centered around my father, the most important man I have in my life. He worked as a mechanic so I would spend my afternoons at his garage. I always heard the rumours that he was an addict, but they never affected the way I felt about him, he was still my father and always at the centre of my life. When I turned 15 I started experimenting with drugs, first with cannabis, then with harder substances. My father wasn’t present during this difficult period; sometimes he would disappear for months at a time, he was in and out of my life and I started to get very lonely. I began looking for other father figures to remedy this void, and I started to use more heavily because I thought that there was no other way to confront the way I felt. At 17 I ran away from home, and around the same time my father entered San Patrignano. After a while he managed to track me down, and sent me a letter inviting me to visit him. It was a shock to see him looking so well, to hear him speak to clearly, so lucidly. I was so proud of him. He wanted me to enter San Patrignano, he didn’t want me living on the street anymore. I really don’t think he would still be here if I hadn’t taken him for his word.
It wasn’t an easy decision but I thought a couple of months of community to make my Father happy would have been a good compromise. I was waiting to inherit some money from my Grandmother once I turned 18, and I thought once I access to the money I would be able to get on with my life.
Two years later and I’m still here. I go to school in the mornings and I spend my afternoons in sector, busying myself with the various responsibilities I have. That crisp clean smell of the laundry is now such an important part of my life”.
In Lavenderia there are 37 other girls like Aurora. Their days are divided by school and sector. Whether their previous lifestyle led them to drop out early or they entered the program as minors and never had the chance to finish school, getting a high school diploma is important for many of the girls. Just like the social skills they learn here, a diploma gives them a solid foundation and allows them better opportunities once they reintegrate back into society.
Thanks to your donations, other girls just like Aurora will be able to follow a rehabilitative program such as this, allowing them to continue with their studies, and learn how to confront their lives with a confidence they didn’t have before arriving.