A food truck selling culinary delicacies through the streets of Bologna, northern Italy, has become the symbol of integration and redemption for women coming from war-torn or poor countries who are trying to get over their difficult past and build a new life for themselves.
These women came from Serbia, Jordan and Nigeria to Italy, escaping war, poverty and desperation in their countries.
Some of them had been left alone with their children to fend for themselves. This association in Bologna is giving them shelter, protection and the chance to become independent through work.
“What is important to them is being autonomous through their work, so they can live freely in the territory of Bologna. The great value of this project is that they can work together: these women come from different cultures and we cannot assume they understand each other all the times,” Loretta Michelini – President of MondoDonna Association said.
Food is the universal language of sharing and these women have found a way to not only bring their cultures together but to also offer people a taste of their multi-ethnic cuisine - and make a living out of it.
“They described their grandmothers’ recipes to me, so I could help cook them. They come from different cultures, from the Balkans to Jordan and Nigeria. We took these recipes and elaborated on them to form the menu of the food truck,” Alberto Di Pasqua, Chef and project coordinator said.
Sladjana is Serbian and came to Italy more than 20 years ago, escaping from bombardments and destruction. When she arrived with her two children, she was abused by her ex-husband for years, but eventually, she found the strength to change her life.
“I endured domestic violence and I am not ashamed to say that because now I understand what that means, what it brought to my life and what it took from my life. I would like all women who get abused to listen to my words, wake up, press charges and get out of these situations,” Sladjana Zaric, Food truck chef and vendor said.
Luca Palamara, Euronews: “It takes little to taste it, it takes a bit more to cook it, but it definitely took much courage, strength and resilience from these women to start a new working activity and, indeed, a new life for themselves. Luca Palamara for Euronews, Bologna.”