Meaningful or diverse recreational activities offer a positive change for people without a home. Whether it is boosting their self-esteem, developing their skills, or establishing social connections, they provide a number of benefits. That is especially important for those in vulnerable conditions, such as the 40 women who found a temporary home at the Haus Miriam shelter in Vienna.
Miriam Hanny, the supervisor at Haus Miriam, told ICDO: “Some of the women don’t want to go out since they feel ashamed, but they need to go out and take part in society… It’s important not to be ashamed as anyone could end up in this situation.”
According to her, many homeless in Vienna lack opportunities to participate in social activities. On 23rd of January 2018, ICDO teamed up with the Chocolate Museum Vienna to offer the women a chance to leave behind their difficult circumstances for a few hours and enjoy a sweet distraction. The visit to the Museum was full of tasty wonders and fascinating history detailing chocolate’s origin. By engaging in social activities with the shelter, ICDO encouraged the women to participate in new educational, cultural and social activities.
Jennifer, one of the participating women, told us how she became homeless: “I went back home and stayed there for two years and when I came back somebody was in my house and he claimed it for himself; the house I lived in for 15 years. It’s been horrible, they chased me out, the guy took me to court, he stole my things, just a lot of problems.”
The visit started with a history detailing the origin of humanity’s usage of the cocoa bean as a currency in the Americas, and the delicacy’s slow expansion into Europe. The tour went on to explore the different stages of chocolate production; starting with harvests of the cocoa bean from cacao trees and the process that ultimately results in chocolate we enjoy. We got a chance to play with a number of interactive exhibits and marvel at the different chocolate masterpieces found within the walls of the Museum. Finally, all of us also got to try the delicious chocolate produced on site.
“As an NGO, we believe that these types of activities can make a difference in people’s lives by reinforcing the individual’s development and self-confidence,” stated Monika Zarucka, Public Information Director.
It was ICDO’s pleasure to share our time at the Vienna Chocolate Museum with the residents of Haus Miriam and we thank the Museum team, especially Jovana Misaljevic, founder of Chocolate Museum Vienna for that opportunity. The visit was an enjoyable getaway for the participants, helping bring some normalcy to their lives and boosting their confidence, a step towards their better future. ICDO will continue supporting people in regaining more active roles within society since all of us can safeguard diversity and better our joint future.
Chocolate Museum Vienna:
Riesenradplatz 5, Vienna, Austria, 1020
Caritas Haus Miriam:
Schopenhauerstrasse 10, Vienna, Austria, 1180