The impact of the economic crisis has significantly exacerbated the deficits in programs, services and support systems for adolescents and post-teenagers. Alongside, social pressure is related and affects the lives of children and young people, creating inequality and difficult conditions for their development, forming identities, behaviors and alternatives which are often characterized by anger, violence, conflict with institutions or adults & authority figures or they lead to inaction, internalization of rejection, victimization, passivity and loss of rights claim.
At this juncture, it is important to establish those structures able to restrain the marginalization of young people from the social function and balance with support services the frequently institutional repression and criminalization of behaviors.
The Youth Support Centre “Youth Land” is a structure that responded loudly to the needs of the reference group, working with the principles of empowerment and strengthening, promoting and encouraging the expression, externalizing feelings, build relationships and form identity.
During the funding period of the program “We are all citizens” our Center served more than 1,000 young men and women along with their families – twice the number of beneficiaries originally predicted. They received social services, legal services, psychosocial support and employment counseling.
Furthermore, young men and women participated in three groups where the Greek language and culture were used as an empowerment tool, in five tutorial classes for all levels of education, in a weekly dance workshop, in a musical instrument weekly learning session, in a movie club (with projections and related discussion,) on a variety of workshops for creative expression, in two workshops concerning the art of animator by “Clowns without Borders”, an informative lecture regarding the infectious diseases held by the University of Athens-Medicine department. Additionally, more than 600 children living or working on the street participated in the Mobile School operations (weekly scheduled or upon an event opportunity), while the community as a whole got informed about our Centre’s activities and services during our participation in a numerous of public events.
During the same period, two youth work camps with volunteers from all over the world were organized: The first took place in July ’15 and it was dedicated to the human rights, the juvenile expression and culture, the social inclusion, the voice, the identity and the position of young people in today’s societies. It resulted in a three-day street festival with music, theater and other cultural events. The second took place in March ’16 and the main idea was the restoration, re-construction of furniture that were offered to families been under attack through crisis, while the long term indirect goal is to introduce to idea of social economy.
At the same time, our Center acting as an applied training area accepted 25 students to do their internship. While knowledge, experiences and techniques were exchanged with students and other concerned citizens from numerous education institutions and related organizations from abroad.
A high importance output of this project is the elaboration of an Automated tool / Guide with integrated methodological designs for social activities with young populations; with this tool the diffusion of acquired knowledge and experience regarding youth working will be pursued and it aspires to become the foundation for the operation of such structures.
This project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Grants Greek NGO Programme “We are all Citizens”. The Bodossaki Foundation is the Fund Operator of this Programme, which aims to strengthen civil society and enhance the contribution of NGOs to social justice, democracy and sustainable development.