Wine, food and music are essential ingredients for the good life, but so are a roof over your head and people who care about you. With our four interviewees, you are in good hands
Discontent is an important part of life, it makes you search for a way out. It can always be an impulse to change and move forward.
Cecily Corti is sitting in the rooftop studio of VinziRast-mittendrin, a project she helped launch together with a student group of the #unibrennt movement. The project aims to bring former homeless people back into the midst of society and teach young students social competence.
VinziRast-mittendrin is a remarkable residential, mentoring and employment program where former homeless people live and work with students. Together, they live in group apartments with shared kitchens, common rooms, workshops and a restaurant, in a light-filled 18th century apartment house in the 9th district, renovated by the architecture firm Gaupenraub +/-.
Around Corti’s neck hangs a little pendant of the holy spirit shaped like a dove. After her husband passed away, she wanted to make a difference, even if only on a minor scale. “I tried finding possibilities that would help me make small changes,” she said. This fundamentally changed her life. “It was unavoidable.”
She is dedicated to aiding the homeless, but at the same time she very much dislikes the word “help,” a word she feels emphasizes an unequal relationship between the giver and the recipient.
“It is so crucial that we empower the person receiving help and not the person giving it. It shouldn’t be a priority to boost one’s own self- esteem by supporting others. Anyway, it is impossible to know how much of a difference the assistance we provide really makes.”
In 1945, as World War II came to an end, Corti and her family fled Slovenia and sought refuge in Austria with relatives, giving her a keen understanding of the meaning of home, a recurring theme in her work.
“For me, home is something within oneself. In our homeless shelter, we make sure that upon arriving, the people can find some peace and quiet, and that they can have experiences that will strengthen their sense of themselves.”