The COVID19 situation has faced us with a bitter reality which is called loneliness and had an enormous impact especially on the elderly. The target group of this project are the elderly which have been experiencing isolation (not only in the case of the pandemic) in everyday life due to their living conditions either in institutions or in their homes. With this project we strive to wake the old tradition of passing knowledge from the old to the young through almost forgotten crafts.
Slovenj Gradec, Koroška region, Slovenia.
The Koroška region is situated in the north of the country and is one of the regions that are cut off from the capital which also affects the financing funds regarding vulnerable social groups. The region is facing poor road connections to the center of the country and a vast amount of unemployment which is causing young people to leave their hometown in the search of better living opportunities and leaving their (grand)parents on their own. This leads to loneliness of the elderly and is also the main problem we are trying to solve with social inclusion.
The idea of the project is to the link old people with the younger generation (high school/university students) through knowledge exchange. We believe that every (generation) group has something to offer to the other, for example: we are witnessing the lack of knowing basic crafts (sewing, baking bread, gardening) by the young generation and on the other hand we are having the elderly which are living in a new-age digital reality which they can’t comprehend (smart phones, computers, video calls). This is creating an unique opportunity to once again establish a connection. We strive to create a system that will link two persons from two different generations and give them an opportunity to socialize and create a relationship from which both will benefit.
With this project we are going to focus on two groups in Koroška: the first are the elderly which are either homeless, living alone in their (empty) houses or are being institutionalized (homes for the elderly) and the other group are young people who tempt to leave the region because of the lack of job opportunities. The fundamental idea of the project is to (re)connect two different generations – this concept is also beneficiary for the people who are living in homes for the elderly, because in this way they will have an opportunity to socialize with different age groups (since they are spending time mostly with people their age). We will empower the elderly with the chance to teach their project partner (the young) skills such as to prepare a traditional dish or patch up their t-shirt.
The project is based on an individual approach. We will link together two project participants from different generations. For example: 65-year old woman who loves to bake traditional sweets and 26 year old female graduate who just finished college and came back to her hometown. Both can contribute to each other with knowledge they have (the older woman with sharing her unique recipes and the female graduate by showing her how to use Skype to chat with the older woman’s grandchildren). Both participants will meet 3x/month and spend time together while exchanging experiences.
The project steps will incorporate:
Webpage to connect participants via their interests
Set up meeting
Create a goal together (e.g. learn baking)
Monthly meetings in bigger groups
With this project we want to address loneliness of the elderly and give them an opportunity to feel needed again by society. As a society we push elderly people on the edge by not giving them a chance to share all their knowledge (which is a result of their rich experiences) to someone that cares and values them. When we are young we socialize with diverse groups (we are surrounded by our family, friends at work/school, people in our daily activities), but when we get older our circle of people is getting smaller and more monotone. The project’s success will be a success for the whole local community by seeing new relationships between the young and the old participants who will build a bridge between generations by sharing their thoughts, life experience, habits and knowledge about life.
The project strengthens democracy in Europe by giving a voice to those who lost theirs years ago by not having someone to listen to them. We want not only to give the elderly people their voice and empower it, but also give the younger generation an opportunity to learn from the experiences and knowledge of the older generation and help both to learn to listen to each other. The connections that will happen will help to shape the future of the local communities’ understanding of each other and thus enrich us as a whole.
This idea is very important to us because we have personal experiences with people living in homes for the elderly, with homeless elderly and also with people who are just being left alone at their homes in their old age. Both of these groups suffer from loneliness and are mostly caught in a daily routine in which they socialize only with people of their age. We think that we can help them to meet new people and to feel useful and respected once again like they deserve. We are striving to not only make this a project but more of a bridge to connect people to gain a real heartfelt friendship.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs for the project management 32.000 EUR
Webpage construction and design 6.000
Promotional videos and photography 3.000
Meeting budget (food, tea) 1.000
Other involved people (trainers, lecturers) 5.000
Sharing experiences, suggestions and networking opportunities.