In these difficult times, especially now during COVID-19 pandemic, people need company and someone to talk to or someone to listen to them. Loneliness and social isolation are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people. This is where SOS CAFÉ comes in. This kind of café is not only offering drinks like a regular café (EXCEPT IT'S FREE), but it's also a model of connecting with senior citizens. This way, we are showing our respect for seniors and socialize with them.
Osijek, Eastern Croatia
The specific societal challenge faced by this region is a fall in the number of residents, combined with the average age of the population that is among the oldest in Europe.
3 challenges that our project will address:
1) work on currently low level of social interaction between elderly and young people;
2) improving the opinion that the elderly have no influence in local decision-making in social and political issues through their told stories and view on the life from their aspect;
3) including the elderly not to feel left out by talking with them, hearing them out, exchanging information and stories/opinions, connecting and socializing together.
Our goal is to reach out to the local elderly inhabitants in Osijek, Croatia. We want to achieve cultural and social inclusion of marginalized group - elderly citizens of 65 years of age or more who live in their own households in Osijek. The elderly are exposed to a continuous threat of being alone; they interact less socially, have weak health and are facing the gradual lowering of their cognitive functions. Our idea is social activation of the elderly so they would not think that they are alone or not included. Using SOS CAFÉ van and drinking coffee/tea with the elderly and making conversations we want to stimulate the elderly's interests and counteract social isolation and under-stimulation. They just want to be included and respected - and as our motto says: ELDERLY MATTER.
Our first step is to spread the word that we are going to start with our project thanks to Civic Europe using the local newspapers, media and the internet platforms.
Next we are going to purchase a van for the project. Using SOS CAFE van our young volunteers and an employee are going to visit our elderly citizens in front of their house and offer them a drink of their choice for free. While visiting the elderly, our young volunteers are going to learn a lot from them through socialization, sharing stories, etc.
If we get funding for this project, we will do our best to use it for a long time and to show the world that ELDERLY MATTER.
Thanks to this project the elderly citizens of Osijek will be included in community activities, they'll share their stories, opinions, socialize with the young. Many elderly citizens today are more educated, healthier and more active than seniors of past generations. They can be a tremendous resource for our young volunteers and have a great impact on them. There are a lot of benefits of bringing elderly and young people together - our young volunteers will learn a lot from our seniors that will increase mutual understanding, they'll form meaningful relationships and it'll improve both groups’ well-being. The mental, emotional and psychological benefits of this cross- socialization can actually have a positive impact on physical well-being.
This project will generate intergenerational relationships between older and young citizens and that'll create a route to success in the life of young people and a key to happiness and well-being in their later years. The mental, emotional and psychological benefits of this kind of socialization will have a positive impact on physical well-being of elderly and the young. Also, it'll lead to the strengthened community and young people will show the elderly that they can be productive and useful members of the community. Through social media their stories and photographs of spending time together will be available for all to see.
Spiritus OS is a non-profit organization with experience in working with and helping the elderly. Our project team: employees which assignments are to show the world that elderly matter and we should interact and spend time with them as much as we can. This project consists of one employee who will be doing administrative assignments (Ivana) and two volunteers who will interact with the elderly, drink coffee/tea with them and share their stories with the world (social media). Our goal is to connect young people with our elderly citizens so they wouldn't be so lonely, sad and depressed - especially now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Expenses we foresee for the implementation of our idea:
- office expenses: 1000 EUR,
- travel and accommodation costs: 2000 EUR,
- public relations: 2000 EUR,
- personnel costs: 10000 EUR,
- van costs (buying a van): 20000 EUR.
We would be grateful if you would have constructive comments and reviews for us. We are grateful for any kind of positive input, and are willing to improve our project with creative ideas.
Feedback interchange from others that have a similar project or ideas how to improve our project are welcome.