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Paola is a 52 year-old Italian woman. She lives in Milan with her husband and children in a rented flat in a social housing building. She got in touch with the staff of the Work is Progress programme on the recommendation of our partner Afol Città Metropolitana for a joint intake. The woman – who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago – has fortunately recovered, but has suffered from depression for a long time due to the disease. Moreover, although she was able to return to work after her recovery, she was only offered precarious contracts in the cleaning sector, where she had always worked, but for tasks that are often not very compatible with the physical consequences that cancer has left.

When she arrives at the Work Is Progress Centre, the very fragile situation in which Paola finds herself becomes immediately apparent. She has been unable to find a stable job for some time, even though she is registered with the targeted employment service, and needs support not only from a labour point of view, but also from a legal and administrative point of view. Her re-entry into the world of work, in fact, is ‘blocked’ because of her fears regarding her formal disability situation. The lack of certainty concerning the compatibility between work and the perception of the invalidity allowance – which is indispensable given her economic condition – and the impossibility of having a full-time job due to her physical condition, have plunged her into a limbo from which she is managing to get out.

In addition to the legal counselling provided by Work Is Progress, which helps her to understand her rights, the staff supports her in finding the necessary tools to start an autonomous Active Job Search, also thanks to access to the e-learning platform made available by the Programme, to orient her towards the job search tools and channels.

Paola immediately appears very motivated in her job search, but very tired to do it autonomously. Thanks to the joint take-over between Afol and Soleterre – through which she immediately managed to find a first job opportunity – the path of autonomy and emancipation achieved allowed her, to our great surprise, to opt for a position as a cleaner in a nursery school found by herself: an unthinkable result when we first met her.

Paola periodically continues to contact the Work Is Progress staff for reassurance and advice on how to move in the world of work: we are happy to be a point of referral for her and for all our beneficiaries.

Read more about the work that Work Is Progress does with cancer patients and former cancer patients like Paola on our website.

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