A new company in the Spartaco Business Park: DALLA STRADA to the world!

Inaugurated last April 8 at Vargem Grande Paulista

A new company at the Spartaco Business Park: "DALLA STRADA" to the world!

by Carla Cotignoli

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The high quality and originality of the “DALLA STRADA” (FROM THE STREETS) bags can immediately be recognized upon seeing the stores window display and its bright entrance. Until one week ago, the company was a school of professionals located in barrio Jardin Margarida, a visibly poor area in Vargem Grande Paulista. Now, they produce bags, accessories and jackets. On April 8, they became the newest addition to the companies housed in the Spartaco Business Park, currently home to some 9 production houses, all of which are governed by the Economy of Communion principles.

 The inauguration was an overwhelming event. What strikes you most is the strong social aspect of this company. It’s that wealth of a new humanism that springs from the combination of economy and communion. They employ the young and less fortunate members of society. They are given a chance to work and therefore a hope for the future. Their products are also praiseworthy. Scraps of materials like jeans are transformed into products that are unique, creative and classy. A truckload of materials waiting to be recycled arrived at the business park. It was all free-of-charge. 110408_Dalla_Strada__inaug_04 

This brave initiative was launched by João Bosco Lima de Santana. “This company prioritizes the youth and their training, not production. At the same time, we guarantee the quality of our products.”   Divani18 years old, among the young workers employed, confirms this affirmation. She joined the company after a year of professional training and an internship in a northeastern company based in Recife. , The company, engaged in a similar business, was located in another Economy of Communion business park. “What we have is much more than an enterprise,” she states. “We help each other. Teamwork is key. We are like a family here. We begin each day by reading the Word of Life from the Gospel. It helps us overcome our difficulties. Every Friday, we share our experiences of the week and how we’ve changed.”

The life stories of the people here are diverse and moving.  Miguel,  20 years old, tells us his story. “My life then was empty. Now, I have a reason to live and a prospect for the future.” “Our family once had a normal life. We were even well-to-do. My father owned a restaurant. When the separation happened, he took everything with him. We went hungry. We had nowhere to go but the favela. I was 11 years old and was wondering how I could help my mother and my two brothers. Drugs seemed to be the answer.” In a span of 6 years he becomes the main distributor in the favela. He was not a drug-addict himself though. Then came the various police pursuits and eventually he got arrested. “But my life was saved, thank God. I was the only one who survived. I have 26 friends who were all ruined by drugs.” Thereafter he made the decision, “I have to get out of this.” Thereafter he made the decision, “I have to free myself from this cycle. I felt detached from everyone I loved. It was not easy.” He sought for help. P. Renato Chiera, who runs a home for street children in Recife, gave him refuge. It was also in Recife that he met Bosco who hired him in his first company of bag production. It was located in the business park in the small town of Mariapoli Santa Maria.
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He not only found employment but discovered so much more. “Even if I didn’t know anyone, I immediately felt at home. I felt I had a new source of strength. I was happy.”.  And now he is here in the Spartaco business park in the South-East of Brazil in the area of San Paolo. He is the head of the production house. “I regret what I did in the past but I did them to survive. We protected and helped each other but we were forced to…It was a horrible experience. Now I have so much to give. I feel I’m being called to reach out and help those who have experienced what I went through. I want to do everything I can for this initiative. On behalf of all my friends who did not make it, I want to succeed.”

You speak of God. Was there a time in your life that you discovered God, I asked. “I’ve always been a Catholic, but the kind that110408_Dalla_Strada__inaug_03 prays only when I need help. The moment I stepped into the business park in Recife on that first day, I really met God. I understood that we are all called to recognize and love Jesus in others.” Now he is all set to leave for Africa. In fact, he is considering a new undertaking: to launch one of these companies in the Ivory Coast. “I’m very happy for this chance to work with the street children in Africa. It’s a chance to love.” From the streets it is truly becoming a multinational, just like what Bosco had dreamed of.

In Italy, the beautiful creations of DALLA STRADA are sold by the EoC cooperative EquiVerso, the first cooperative that brings together the Economy of Communion, Fair Trade and Responsible Tourism: www.equiverso.it

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