A PROJECT FOR HOSPITALITY, EDUCATION AND SOCIALIZATION
preparing girls who are orphans, disadvantaged or victims of abuse in Cuddalor-Tamilnadu-India to believe in the dream of a better future.
The Matt Project was conceived in memory of Matteo, a polite, respectful son who loved studying and working, traveling and sports as well as India and its people. Matteo loved life but, at only 29 years of age, he lost his life in a landslide.
The story begins in 2004 with one of the most catastrophic disasters of modern times, the Tsunami which hit the Indian Ocean and, particularly, the southern region of Tamil Nadu.
Maintaining the spirit of what Matteo would have done as well as harmonizing with the company’s philosophy of attention to social and ethical issues, respect for others and hope for tomorrow, the Matt Project’s ultimate goal is to provide hospitality, education and socialization to orphans or disadvantaged girls who live in extreme poverty and solitude and are often victims of abuse, in order to give them the dream of a better future in which they will be respected as daughters, wives, mothers, workers, professionals, and free, independent women.
Through the years, the number involved in the project has grown and, presently, there are 35 girls ranging from ages 4 to 17 years. As their number has increased, their needs have also evolved necessitating larger, more modern housing and an adequate staff in order to fulfill Project Matt’s goal to prepare them for their dream of a better future.
Last April 7th, in the presence of the President, Aldo Sacchi and of the CEO, Stefano Sacchi, with their respective families, the new “Matt House” was inaugurated in Cuddalore-Tamil Nadu, in southern India
transforming Matt’s dream into reality. As the region’s first big example of a modern hospitality shelter, it provided the girls with a new, modern, spacious, tidy home with an ample terrace for activities and a garden for outdoor recreation and games.
Today, Matt House sits on approximately 1,500 square meters of land and is currently in the process of expansion. The external walls of the 800 square meter red brick building are in traditional Jail to create shade and natural air flow. The house has two stories plus a big terrace with views of the sea, the river and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
On the ground floor is the living area which provides ample communal space; a guest study, a living room for games, for television viewing and desks for studying, a dining room and a kitchen fully equipped with appliances and pantries.
Upstairs, the sleeping quarters for the girls, divided by age and team, consist of two large rooms with bunkbeds, bathrooms and showers. There are also bedrooms and bathrooms for the staff as well as a fully equipped infirmary with a bedroom and bathroom.
The rooms are furnished with simple but comfortable furniture, often personalized for each girl in order to teach them a sense of respect and of “personal belongings”, along with all the useful and necessary services, for example, the computers, the stereo system, the communication systems, wi-fi, security, alarms and surveillance cameras.
To create an atmosphere of serenity and to affectionately and competently provide for the girls’ socialization, study and fun, Matt uses a select staff of specialists composed of 8 persons who live in Matt House with the girls: 2 teachers, 2 nannies, 2 cooks, 1 driver and 1 guard/gardener/handyman.
The Matt House personnel do all they can for the girls’ development so, with their lives in mind, they encourage them to respect themselves and the people and things around them, to study in order to aspire to a peaceful future, to cultivate hobbies for their personal satisfaction, to attain physical and intellectual autonomy in preparation for their better tomorrow.
Autonomy and respect are the true force of the Matt House Project: the quality of life and instruction that are guaranteed today to the girls is a concrete opportunity for them to achieve the dream of a better future.
A typical day in Matt house begins with the sound of the alarm clock at 6:30 a.m. and, in the Indian tradition, breakfast is served at 7:30 a.m. By 8:00 everyone is well-groomed and well-dressed in their school smocks, with their backpacks on their shoulders, ready for the driver to take them in the Matt van to their various schools.
At 4:30 p.m. the girls return to Matt House and have the afternoon to study, play and attend dance, swimming, karate and voice lessons taught on the premises by the Matt House staff or by external Teachers.
At 7p.m. dinner is served in the main hall for all the girls and their assistants, followed by time for chatting and a little television. Then comes bedtime, but only after each girl takes care of her personal hygiene, tidies up her living space and prepares her school materials for the following day.
On weekends, under the watchful eyes of the nannies, the girls ride their bicycles, go to the beach, to the river, to the nearby countryside or take educational trips to temples, museums, the zoo or go shopping with their small savings to buy colorful, traditional dresses, bracelets and necklaces, like any happy girl anywhere the world.
Matt House loses its guardianship of the girls on their eighteenth birthday, but Matt continues to keep an eye on them and help them if necessary. As of today, 37 young women who entered Matt House as little girls have gone on, some to become wives and mothers, others are office workers, 4 are university students and two have earned degrees in medicine and computer science.
Funds for the design, construction and maintenance of Matt House come mainly from the company which personally follows the Project, occasionally traveling to Cuddalore and annually offering two employees the opportunity to visit the House.
In recent years a new company initiative has allowed its consumers to participate, if only indirectly, in the construction of the New Matt House through supportive purchases: in 2015 and 2016 for every product Matt sold, in successive dedicated periods, the company has, in fact, devolved 2 euro cents to the project, thus gathering over 160.000 euro.
“This Project was done purposefully and studied in the smallest detail with extreme passion and involvement by our President and by me, with all respect for the Matt values and in memory of Matteo, who has been its inspiration, with a single-minded goal of allowing Indian girls to live their years of infancy and adolescence in the best way possible, to learn the value of respect for themselves and others, to study and prepare themselves for a serene future as women, mothers and workers,”,declares Stefano Sacchi, CEO of A&D Gruppo Alimentare e Dietetico, holder of the Matt brand. “We are particularly proud of the completion of the New Matt House the crowning achievement of our project and we don’t rule out the construction of new houses in other parts of the country. Children with their hopes and India with its diversity touch the mind and the heart, they make us reflect and dream. With this in mind, we believe and hope we have not simply given life to a project of social responsibility, but to much more”.