Talking Hands was born in 2016 in response to the urgency of the situation of many asylum seekers and refugees. In a former army barracks, the »Caserma Piave«, in Treviso near Venice, the project started as an initiative with a group of 25 migrants hosted by local asylum centres. The group created a kind of laboratory and self-managed design workshop where furniture as well as clothes and embroidery were made and sold. Talking Hands organises various free workshops in cooperation with local, national and international designers and artisans. The project promotes the professional development of the participants and creates employment opportunities. At the same time, it provides legal and medical support, free communal meals and some money for those in need. The resulting products are offered for sale at special events. The profit is partly reinvested in the project and distributed to the participants. The core group consists of 15 people. They look after the workshops and thus around 50 other people.
Holistic social and professional development for refugees and asylum seekers
Due to government funding cuts in the reception and protection system for refugees and asylum seekers, basic services such as literacy, mental health and individual support have been severely reduced. The project provides vocational training, basic literacy, social and medical support. The participants are involved in the production from design to realisation and are in social and professional contact with other designers and artisans.