The Open Group Disability Section has consolidated experience in the management of semi-residential, socio-rehabilitation, work transition services for people with psychological and physical disabilities. Currently we have two accredited day centers, three protected workshops and a group apartment. These facilities welcome activities related to art, the environment, psychological and physical wellbeing as well as digital technology, all areas that cut across the fields our cooperative is active in. Such cross-pollination enriches all our projects with innovative and original ideas stemming from collaboration with a network of organizations and institutions operating at the local level.

We follow the Quality 11010/2016 Guidelines, “Housing and social inclusion services for people with disabilities (PwD)” are no longer only answers to their needs but also promote and guarantee the rights to equal opportunities and social inclusion of people with disabilities.  This rule signals a change of pace in the determination to bring the cultural, ethical and legal evolution inside enhanced processes.  They aim at promoting the recognition of equal rights to dignity of people with disabilities, including the right to an independent life, the right to a dignified dwelling, the right to experience significant opportunities and inclusion, the right to a correct and thorough assessment of needs, desires, expectations, values and personal resources. Ours is a constant and customized search for solutions that adhere to the right of participating in the life of the community based on equality.

Across the lines… slow production

SLOW PRODUCTION® is our across the lines seal of approval that qualifies all our Open Group centers that welcome adults with disabilities. It is an open window on the world in terms of relationships and collaborations that can help make disability be experienced as an active part of the community by means of innovative projects and activities that can be shared to promote the rights and the development of self-determination and autonomy of people with disabilities. We wish to distance ourselves from a culture of “care” and promote a “culture” that valorizes and recognizes the abilities of people in relation to what they can and cannot do! SLOW PRODUCTION® is the logo that underscores the innovative profile through a philosophy and ethics tied to individual and human dignity in relation to society, the environment, art, digital technology, food and physical and psychological well-being. The growth of skills and abilities acquired by people who take part in our centers’ activities is slow but constant. They acquire such abilities gradually over time to the point of carrying knowledge and skills that can be transmitted to others. Respect for disability, diversity and “slow time” which enables people to exist with equal dignity, enable us to consider  the capacities and expressions that are peculiar to differently abled people a kind of wealth, as they can be trained while respecting their potential.

Some of our centers are located in rich, natural environments and this allows for daily contact with nature, which constitutes a significant resource for the development of the people who benefit from our services.  Activities include taking care of the environment and carry a redoubled value: the physical and psychological rehabilitation of people and a service for the community and the local area.

Digital innovation
Thanks to the collaboration between the Asphi Foundation and the “Autonomie @l centro”, we started to use multimedia and assistance technology (sensors, modified keyboards, scanners, touch interfaces, tablets, smartphones) in all our services. This has meant personal enrichment for the operators as they acquired skills and renewed work practices. This has also meant greater flexibility in our educational offerings through new customizable tools, which allow direct users to handle state of the art digital technologies.

We’ve undertaken a new program with a holistic, person centered approach, including new activities and setting up Areas for the use of subtle Aromatherapy associated with relaxation and well being practices, as well as reiki. These areas are devoted to massage, meditation, music and creativity. Spaces that are recognized both by the users and the operators as places where they can calm down the mind, find comfort and a renewed sense of balance.

Art is that particular form of expression, communication and universal language that enables us to overcome differences among people. For this reason, in our workshops we let the creativity of people with disabilities express itself in “Creative Sewing”, “Ceramics”, “Sculpture and Painting”, “Traditional Crafts” workshops etc. We have a convention with the Fine Arts Academy of Bologna, which provides students who lead the trainings in workshops. The interaction with the students coming from all over the world makes the Maracanda Project a continuously evolving enterprise. Painting, sculptures and the objects are the protagonists of targeted installations and the artists can fully consider themselves part of trends such as “Arte Irregolare” which is inspired by “Art Brut”. These artistic productions are unique and original objects that generate emotional impact.

We focus on Europe to launch a debate about what common identity and path to give to disability. Among European initiatives in that direction, we include European planning on co-production for the self-determination of disabled people in collaboration with Italian and/or foreign partners (topic of the internationalization of the Arfie Network, Grundtvig “L’Europe c’est nous” (which has ended) and Erasmus+“Enable” (in progress).


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