Born "on the wrong side of the tracks," he's worked hard to overcome prejudice and marginalization.
Giuseppe Schisano is a young man born in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Naples, Italy, where the “malavita” (the mafia) is in control. Although Giuseppe’s father died when he was just 14, he didn’t take what could have been the natural or easy path of organized crime — a common path where he lives. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and began to work however he could—as a construction worker, at restaurants or bars, any job that allowed him to help his family.
When he started working in a coffee shop, he began to enjoy what is now his passion: serving good coffee in the Neapolitan tradition. And that’s where he conceived the dream that is now a reality.
“Being born in the Quartieri Spagnoli means being born with a label, being discriminated against. It means being socially marginalized, regardless of what you choose to do with your life. I see a lot of young men like me who roll up their sleeves to work, but I also see others who get lost. Friends who take the wrong path, friends who’ve died. Life is made of choices. Starting when you’re young, you have to decide which path to take: either the wrong one, because you don’t care at all about anyone, or the path of your dreams, which is the one I took.”
With hard work and ingenuity, Giuseppe made his dream come true, “reinventing” himself to be able to work honestly.
Thanks to a foundation called Imparare-Fare (“Learn-Do”) and with a “hope loan” from Caritas, he was able to launch his idea: “Don Cafe – Street Art Coffee.” It’s a portable coffee shop—a combination bicycle/street cart with a steel counter and a gas oven and stove.
As he says, he’s giving life to a magical idea: serving coffee made with the cuccumella, the famous Neapolitan coffeemaker, accompanied by “sfogliatella,” a famous local pastry.
People look forward to when Don Cafe will come pedaling by so they can enjoy the popular beverage prepared by this friendly and polite young man who has fought for his dreams.
Many of them let him know that he is a great pride for the entire city.
Giuseppe could have opted for the “easy” path of crime, the most natural path for someone in his situation, although it is actually a rough road that can lead to early death. Instead, he chose to pursue his dream, dignifying himself with a job that he does with passion. Without a doubt, he’s a great example for many young people today.
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