Cooperative “I Ragazzi di Sipario” is a social enterprise of B type, where the majority of the members are young workers with mental or sensory disabilities. The cooperative is the result of the challenge facing parents and carers of young persons with disabilities – how and where to achieve the most efficient and profitable integration process through access to employment for their beloved ones. They were aware of their transience (the majority of the families of the members with disabilities are at retirement age) and made efforts to provide dignified and secure life for their beloved persons with disabilities. Therefore, they decided – by directly applying the cooperative values and principles and relying on support by the society to make use of the opportunities provided by the legislation and the social policies implemented in Italy, to establish in 2007 the cooperative “I Ragazzi di Sipario”.
The main activity of the cooperative is the provision of restaurant services. In the manufacturing process and in the process of customer service, young persons with disabilities are involved. The cooperative’s restaurant is every day offering traditional homemade cuisine typical to the province of Toscana. The interior offers immediate comfort without excessive pretension. The interior design perfectly combines the functionality with the freshness of wonderful panels painted by the members at their leisure. The motto of the restaurant is “Visit our restaurant, where nothing is taken for granted.”
The second recently launched and successfully developed activity of the cooperative is Internet television (www.sipariotv.tv).
The employment process for persons with mental disabilities, in addition to being a source of livelihood, is also purely human need, forming their identity and the perceptions of the world around them. In order to make a real working process for persons with mental and sensory perceptions, it is first necessary to work methodically correctly – providing specific environment that provokes social agitation. As a result, persons with intellectual disabilities can socialize.
They have serious capacity requiring specific environment to enhance it. Unfortunately, such persons, unless kept in proper condition, may stop reacting to the rules of the world around them, which may lead to misunderstandings and tensions. These are the main reasons why society often rejects this group of people and failure of social integration is possible.
The project is ambitious and requires constant fighting clichés, the world around, but the happy eyes of the families of persons with disabilities who see them hurrying in the morning and tired in the evening, but happy after a busy day – they give strength to the entire staff of the cooperative to continue to make dreams become true.