London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

The Village of Mothers and Children in Milan: A review of a successful community model

Author(s) Pallotta, D.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
In 1945 Elda Scarzella Mazzocchi founded the Village of Mothers and Children, which still exists today in Milan's experimental QT8 neighbourhood. The Village was the first structure of its kind to welcome single mothers with their children, giving them the opportunity to remain together and be able to plan their future. The objectives were to maintain the integrity and continuity of the mother-child relationship. The approach was non-religious and non-institutional. The Village supported single mothers in having a serene pregnancy accompanying them both during and after childbirth. This nurtured and enhanced the psycho-emotional development of the child and preserved the child's ability to cultivate significant relationships with others. From this unique experience, the sense of belonging to a community was born. This paper presents some initial findings from a preliminary study based on available documentation and interviews with key persons involved in Village life from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. These findings are of relevance as figures suggest child abandonment in Europe is currently increasing, compounded by the global socio-economic crisis. It is important to return to the pedagogical theory and practice delivered by the Village in order for us to re-learn how to create a sense of sustainable identity and community for the global future. Keywords: single mothers, abandonment, village, community building

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