Hi, I’m Manuela and for the last 4 years I have been passionate about creating a living community for German speaking people 60+ in Italy. I have steadily been working towards making this concept a reality and have dedicated the “Hedwig- Schenkel-Haus” to my grandma who was a great inspiration in my life.
Since 2017, I have been calculating every item of the income and expenditure that a community of around 30 people living in Italy would incur and have spent many hours ensuring that the (business) venture was actually feasible, luckily with the support of friends and colleagues confirming that this would be a viable undertaking.
I had been living in the UK for 27 years, was fortunate enough to be allowed to bring up 3 wonderful children, was enjoying a successful business career and had become a certified yoga teacher in my spare time. My true passion though, have always been the elderly. I worked in a care home as a care assistant for a year whilst writing my masters thesis, I took part in courses about care alongside work and I volunteered for the Marie Curie charity for over 6 years, visiting older people with terminal illness once a week in their own homes or in the hospice.
Offering an alternative support model in older age that eliminates loneliness, isolation and purposelessness became my passion and focus in whatever I was doing. I was planning to leave the UK in 2022 to establish the HSH Community in Italy in 2023, but luck was on my side (or God, the universe or whatever you might like to call it) and I met Peaceful in January 2021.
In him I have found my ‘accomplice’ who was just as ready and passionate as me to get this project started as soon as possible, and he added some valuable practical skills to the scenario – to include his knowledge about permaculture and building maintenance. His passion about the co-operative model inspired me to try this out first, rather than going down the ‘traditional’ investors’ route.
After all, the only important thing for me is to make this community a reality and to bring into the world the idea that has been planted and developed so deep inside me over the last 4 years that everything I do in life revolves around it: My values, my relationships, my actions, my thoughts, my feelings. This is my path to make a positive difference in this world for as many people as possible and that it is what gets me out of bed with joy, passion and determination every day.