ITALY: Salesian Sisters Highlight Mico-Entrepreneurship Projects that Help Women Gain Skills and Employment
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Sisters with The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians presented Female Entrepreneurship as part of this year’s World Expo that is being held from May through October in Milan, Italy. Casa Don Bosco, the Salesian facility at the expo, is hosting conferences, events, exhibitions and shows by members of the Salesian Family. The Salesian Family includes the Don Bosco Network and the International Volunteers for Development and is one of 13 civil society organizations participating in the World Expo Milano 2015.
The event, with a theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, is expected to attract close to 20 million visitors. Salesian missionaries are highlighting projects and initiatives that focus on feeding the body, educating the person and cultivating the dream. The Salesian Sisters’ program ran the first week of September and focused on Salesian projects that support the development of women’s micro-entrepreneurship.
UN Women, the United Nation’s entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, recently published a report called, “Progress of Women in the World 2015-2016” which noted that globally three quarters of working age men 15 years old and older are in the labor force compared to half of working age women. Among those who are employed, women constitute nearly two thirds of contributing family workers who work in family businesses without any direct pay. Women continue to be denied equal pay for work of equal value and are less likely than men to receive a pension, which translates into large income inequalities throughout their lives. However, the income women could be earning is critical to their family’s survival.
The Salesian Sister’s Female Entrepreneurship program presents an overview of best practices for micro-entrepreneurship projects that result in better economic conditions for women, their families and communities. Micro-entrepreneurship provides women valuable tools to escape from welfare dependence, stimulate production activity and bring out creativity and ingenuity in addition to increasing hope, dignity and employment opportunities.
“Young women and girls face many disadvantages and barriers to accessing education and achieving financial independence despite their huge potential,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions. “It is very important for young women and girls to attend school and gain an education. Women that are empowered though education are more often able to achieve financial independence, marry at an older age and make better and healthier choices that affect not only themselves but their families and communities as well.”
At the expo, the Salesian Sisters highlighted projects from the past 10 years that include a wide range of businesses run by women including the raising of small livestock, growing vegetables and food production, weaving and alternative medicine. The businesses that have been created differ depending on culture and location. Since 2004, The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have developed more than 400 micro-entrepreneurship projects that have helped more than 30,000 women.
One of the projects highlighted focused on young migrant women living in Cammarata, a community in the Province of Agrigento in the Italian region of Sicily, who were trained in the basics of local agriculture, in particular the cultivation of olives. The course enabled them to implement the skills and knowledge they learned to gain employment in a field that is available in their new home country.
Many of the projects included on the job training in cooperative work and self-financing. For many women, starting a small income-generating activity can ensure the improvement of living conditions for their entire family and the possibility of education for their children, in addition to the empowerment of the woman herself.