Big projects often arise from a casual intuition or a fortuitous meeting. This is, exactly, the case for B&B Like Your Home, a wonderful project focusing on accessibility, inclusion and empowerment of people with a disability strongly wanted by Cetty Ummarino, a woman that, in front of issues, doesn’t give up, but looks for a solution and doesn’t stop ‘til she has found it. I had the pleasure to meet Cetty and talk with her about this project thanks to shared professional contacts, so I want you to know her as well.
What’s B&B Like Your Home?
It’s a network of bed & breakfasts that have been made suitable for all tourists’ needs, including those with a disability or with specific needs (for instance, celiac people), directly managed by disabled people, supported by their families and caregivers. The goal isn’t just to create accomodation facilities suitable for disabled tourists’ specific needs, but also to give value to abilities and skills of people with motoric, sensory or cognitive disabilities working in tourism and food services, promoting their inclusion in the world of work, usually quite tricky for them. As of today, this network, which is unique of this kind in Italy, counts 15 facilities distributed in the areas of Naples and Salerno.
How did the idea of B&B Like Your Home arise?
At it often occurs, it arose casually. I work in training for the tourism industry, mainly delivering “on the job” training in the internal areas of Campania, which are often less prepared, compared with the coast, to effectively manage food service and tourism in general. During a business trip, I met a girl with a severe motoric disability and I realized that, for people like her, it’s often difficult “to go towards the world”, due to so many architectural and cultural barriers. Then, I realized that I had to do something concrete to help them, going beyond mere welfarism, to give value to their abilities and skills.
Which is the peculiarity of facilities which join the B&B Like Your Home network?
These facilities already host people with a particular disability, therefore are equipped to satisfy the needs of who lives a similar condition (for instance, in the b&b managed by a blind person you’ll easily find alarm clocks for blind people, in one managed by someone with a motoric disability there will be suitable aids and expedients), without excluding all the other tourists (including the “able-bodied” ones). This way, we can give dignity to work, to disabled guys and to what they do, since, besides managing the facility and preparing meals (following the home restaurant model), they handcraft and sell objects. So, somewhat, they also become ambassadors of their territory.
What are B&B Like Your Home plans for 2017?
We want to expand our network to cover also Benevento, Avellino and Caserta areas, opening to over 60 and adapting our business model to tourist flats, in addition to bed & breakfasts. We’ve also planned collateral initiatives, to promote the work inclusion of disabled people and the matching among them and the businesses operating on their territory.
Indeed, it’s an ambitious project, but – I’m sure! – it will go on growing. Also because Cetty’s strength and energy are really contagious!