My name is Palma Felina, I am 65 years old and before my retirement in May 2017, I was a social worker. I have always been interested in discovering new cultures and in activities, such as volunteering, that let me get close to disadvantaged people. My personal and professional life have always been intertwined.
When I was 16 years old, I became a Mani Tese’s volunteer in Magenta. At that time, the main activity was to raise money to send to the missions. The motto was something like “it is better to give a fishing rod than a fish” (I think it is a Mao’s quote!).
My career as social worker began in 1976. Over the years, I worked in many fields such as the deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities, family services infrastructures, foster and adoptive family services.
From 1984 until 1988, I lived in Ivory Coast and I was involved in a social project with Abele/Livia’s group. When I came back, I decided to quit my job as social worker and I decided to start helping foreigners. To do so, in 1994, I started to work in the Italian cooperation system to help women victims of sexual trafficking.
Since 1995, I re-started to cooperate with Mani Tese, because it responded to my desire of combining activities on the field with more political and cultural ones. My commitment grew up over the years: at first, I became member of the African Commission, then I became part of the Project Committee, Board of Directors and at the end, I became Mani Tese’s vice-president.