(24 November 2017) – Alessandro La Grassa highlights some of the initiatives and successes of CRESM, a social cooperative based in Sicily, while Jean-Luc Janot (AEIDL) interviewed Lorenzo Barbera, a long time local development activist and the founder of the organisation.
CRESM (Centro Ricerche Economiche e Sociali per il Meridione / Centre for Economic and Social Research in the South) has been working for more than 40 years with vulnerable social groups (young people, small farmers, immigrants, prisoners, people with disabilities, etc.) in disadvantaged areas of southern Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, combining rural and urban local development with social inclusion.
CRESM was established in 1973 in Palermo by a group of social workers, development agents and researchers who previously worked with the well-known sociologist and social activist, Danilo Dolci, in Palermo, and in other rural areas in western Sicily, a territory with a historically strong presence of the mafia.
The projects and activities implemented by CRESM aim to promote integrated and sustainable development, and social inclusion. Since the early 1990s, CRESM has also promoted many initiatives on social and school inclusion, and professional training, as well as starting one of the first initiatives in Italy on the creation of enterprises by immigrants.