In the year in which the social cooperative Rio Terà dei Pensieri completes 25 years of commitment and activity in the Giudecca Women’s prison, it wanted to enhance its own path, marked by a strong attention to quality and beauty, both internal and external. Thus was born this book, which exalts the external beauty of women, and aims to finance a new project addressed to care of inner beauty: a Listening Space for prisoners and ex-prisoners in memory of Raffaele Levorato, our highly esteemed founder.
Days full of emotions
Inside the Giudecca Women’s Prison an explosion of joy and beauty has swept through many women, inmates or passing by, in a game made up of unusual make-up and clothes; faces transformed, decorated, embellished ready to meet themselves and the other. Little moments of external care to open the door to positive transformations
The work of collecting, communicating images and words from the Women’s Prison of Venice wants to remember the twenty-five years of activity of the Cooperative Rio Terà dei Pensieri, and at the same time relaunch new projects. This recurrence reminded us of one of the distinctive traits of the cooperative’s projects, of the possibility of understanding the place of detention as a way of change, station on the path of possible growth, rather than as stasis, withdrawal or damage, looking beyond punitive bottlenecks that sometimes mark the imagination of this institution. And it is precisely these characteristics that have evoked a particular connection with the training course for beauticians carried out in this period in the Institute, a concrete sign and at the same time a metaphor for the search for care and beauty. Starting from our consolidated activity as cosmetic manufacturers, and from the natural vocation for collaboration, we took the opportunity of a national Soroptimist project to promote, together with the San Luigi Professional Training Center in San Donà di Piave, a training course for beauticians. An idea welcomed with great enthusiasm and participation by women in prison.
We therefore wanted to make this book, which was at the same time an end and an instrument: it was an end to enhance this formative path and to spend two days of “play”, made up of tricks, disguises and stories of oneself through images: how we see each other, as we would like the others to see us, then caught in the beautiful photographs of Giorgio Bombieri. And it is the ways and means, because with the sale of the book we will be the starting point for new projects. An important birthday like the twenty-fifth, it also reminds us of a glance at the origins, at that sensitivity that Raffaele Levorato, founding the cooperative, was able to convey, and with which he infected us: the interest in listening. And the project that we would like to start here is precisely the opening of a Listening Space for inmates and ex-inmates, where we can welcome those who want to take their lives back into their own hands by looking in and around themselves. Because our experience of patient and daily work has taught us that external care must be accompanied by a cure for inner beauties, made also of our frailties and differences. Renewing the commitment of prison volunteering and cooperation today means for us the confirmation of the centrality of work in its formative, educational, creative and social bonds, combined with an activation towards other transformations, in search of good forms starting from self, together.