Scritta Love

Smallfamilies: big love.

📝 Francesca Gorza

February 14, Valentine's Day.

Talking only about lovers is limiting: today is the celebration of love and we would like to approach the topic in a different way than usual.

We won't talk about sweets, hearts and chocolates, but about something complex and important: we will talk about variable and fragile balances and perspectives. We will do it together with Gisella Bassanini , president of the Smallfamilies aps association which, today, turns 10 .

Gisella Bassanini, president of Small Families aps

Gisella Bassanini, President of Smallfamilies aps. © Smallfamilies aps

Good morning Gisella, please tell us who you are and what you do.
<< Gisella Bassanini, I am a teacher and architect . I am co-founder and president of Smallfamilies aps . For the association I deal in particular with the data, research and policy observatory and with issues related to living.>>

What is Smallfamilies aps and what does it do?
<<Smallfamilies aps : it is an observatory and compass for single parents and families with variable geometry.
It was born as a project of a social and cultural nature in Milan in 2012 and since 2014 it has been a Social Promotion Association registered in the Single National Register of the Third Sector (RUNTS) which is financed with membership fees, donations, 5X1000 and participation in tenders.
Our association guides, informs, supports and protects the rights of single-parent families (by choice, by renunciation of the other parent, due to separation, divorce, widowhood) and more generally of families with variable geometry, in particular of those who live in conditions of fragility and isolation.
Our objectives are:

  • offer services and tools that can contribute to designing new futures in a constantly changing social, cultural, economic and relational context;
  • urge institutions to recognize this phenomenon and identify the most appropriate responses and policies (policies);
  • spread a new family culture .

Over the years, Smallfamilies aps has created an archipelago of initiatives: a website (online since 2013), social networks, a network of experts/consultants particularly in the legal and psychological fields, an Observatory that provides data and develops research, projects cultural such as exhibitions and events and the first editorial series dedicated to families with variable geometry: smALLbooks born in 2014.>>

Some authors of the SmAllbooks series
Some authors of the smALLbooks series - © Smallfamilies aps

What is a variable geometry family?
<<The family has changed and has the most different geometries. Even within what in Italy are commonly called "single-parent families" we find different configurations . But it is one thing to be a single or widowed parent and another to be able to count on the presence of the other parent even if you are no longer a couple. With the definition "families with variable geometry" we intend to indicate this plurality of family typologies. For us: whatever its composition, every family unit has the dignity of a "Family" .

The objectives are Small families aps

Photo ©Smallfamiles aps

In a "traditional" family, the meal is usually a convivial moment. An opportunity to get together and talk. I believe that a Small Family is usually born because something in the "Big" family didn't work or due to an uncontrollable event. Does it change the perception of being at the table? <<When a couple with a child or children separates or if one of the two parents passes away the family takes on another form, other relationships develop within the family and with others (relatives, friends, neighbours, etc.). Even being around a table becomes a completely new experience, often not easy to live also because a lot depends on how the parents separated. In the case of widowhood we can well imagine what this could mean... There are stories that tell of difficulties in accepting this new way of being a family but there are also many stories that speak of rediscovered joy , of the desire to be together, of teenage children who learn to cook for pleasure or to help their mother or father with whom they live more or less permanently. My daughter, who lives alone with me, for example, started cooking when she was about ten years old. First making desserts with me, my grandmother or the babysitter and then, growing independently, he began to create increasingly elaborate dishes. Now that she is 22, she takes care of lunch and dinner every day and is very good at it. To my great joy and that of those who come to have lunch with us.>>

Can food be a "therapy" in balance and everyday life?
<<Absolutely yes, it is nourishment not only for the body. It's care, it's relationships. An extraordinary way of communicating .>>

smALLbooks - ©Smallfamilies aps

What might a Small family be particularly pleased to find in a pastry shop or other grocery store? Single portions, smaller cut preparations to share, etc. If there are, what practical problems do you have to face when shopping?
<<Start seriously thinking about families in their different combinations and geometry. Think about services and products dedicated to them, diversified and at accessible costs. The problem with single portions (and single-person families, the so-called "singles" know this very well) is that they cost more. If we notice the famous "family format" it is designed for a large family which, according to Istat data referring to 2019, represents approximately 5% of Italian families and is found above all in the regions of southern Italy and the islands (in 1971 families made up of five members or more represented 21.5% of the total resident families). While, again according to Istat, one Italian in three belongs to a single-member family . There are 8.5 million people (33.3% of the total resident families), numbers that will rise to 10.2 million in 2041 - say the demographic forecasts - just as single-parent families are and will be increasingly growing, currently over 11% of the total, at the head of which, in eight cases out of ten, there is a woman.
These data tell of a changing society and yet they are little considered in our country (by politics, institutions, the media). I can't understand why. Ignoring them is not only short-sighted but also counterproductive because this is the trend, whether we like it or not. Knowing what is happening and will happen in the future allows us to face changes with the right awareness, with the right tools, with the right answers. Otherwise we risk being like ostriches putting their heads in the sand.>>

What can people or companies interested in your association's work do to support it or find out more?
<<We are open to proposals for initiatives that may concern our families. We are also interested in continuing to collect stories . There are 150 on our site without counting those collected in our four books in the smAllbooks series. All autobiographical stories. Another way to support Smallfamilies aps is to join , make a small donation or give us 5X1000. On our website ( ) you can find all the information: who we are, what we do, how to support us.>>

Tenth anniversary of Small families aps
Tenth anniversary of Small Families aps - ©Smallfamiles aps

And now the usual question: what is your favorite dessert?
<<I really like your chocolate and raspberry cake . And it is precisely with this cake that next February 14th we will celebrate our first 10 years as an association .>>

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1 comment

Che intervista interessante! Aiuta a riflettere su un mondo nuovo che a volte si dà per scontato. E non sono le solite frasi dolci per San Valentino! Brava!

Maria Beatrice

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