EMIS for social cohesion
Participant: Mary Drosopoulos
Organisation: Institute for European and Mediterranean Studies, Greece
Setting: Upper Botsari, area, central Thessaloniki.
What made it disadvantaged was the rise of criminality due to poverty and unemployment partly as an outcome of the country’s dire economic straits and the coming of migrants, esp. from Albania and the Russian Federation. Criminality shows itself in the form of thefts, prostitution in the streets and drug dealing.
The locals started blaming immigrants for the situation, exhibiting suspicion and discrimination against them. The immigrants rea
cted by exhibiting hate and vengeance against locals. The area was downgraded. Unemployment rose.
Aim: To improve the living conditions in our neighborhood by providing better opportunities with a long term effect for its young people; locals and legal immigrants and by eliminating discrimination and social stereotypes.
To develop intercultural dialogue and understanding between locals and legal immigrants, so as to combat xenophobia..
To address unemployment by developing pax’s competences and skills and guiding them to the job finding process.
To develop participants’ skills by means of training using non-formal educational tools.
To raise awareness about human and social rights thru creative activities.
To inform and sensitize about social rights, so as to create more conscious young citizens.
Tools: research, surveys, interviews with experts, one-to-one interviews with locals, visits to schools.
non-formal education tools: learn by doing activities, conflict transformation techniques etc.
Youth initiatives: street festivals, artistic projects, gatherings, happenings; raise awareness campaigns: at schools, sports academies, local ngos.
1. Young registered immigrants, aged 16-30, living in the wider Botsari area of Thessaloniki, facing challenges such as:
-discrimination (due to ethnic background, religion, language or gender)
2. Local young people aged 14-30, exhibiting xenophobia against migrants, triggered by ignorance and social stereotypes.
Social rights addressed: Legal and descent employment despite gender or ethnic background, Right to leisure, medical insurance and social security, right to religion and cultural expression, gender Equality (women’s empowerment)
Target group: Young people 16-26, legal immigrants or young Greeks with low income. 15 people have been directly affected by the project and others indirectly, through activities and seminars.
Local authorities involved: Municipality of Thessaloniki – Youth Department, Municipality of Stavroupoli
-A hundred people were directly involved and hundreds indirectly.
-30% of the participants got a job, or got a promotion after developing new skills
-50% of the participants decided to go back to school or continue their studies.
-10% had the opportunity to travel abroad after being informed about relevant projects and TCs.
-35% see self-employment as an answer to recession and unemployment and 10% started their own business.
-33% of the people who were participants in the 1st project (Emis) became trainers/facilitators/volunteers for the YouPi project.
Follow-up and sustainability:
The YOU.P.I. follow up project was based upon the fruitful results of the “Emis for social cohesion” project, targeting though a larger group of people and setting the prerequisites for a multiplier effect. It was implemented partly by the same people who benefited from the “Emis project”; a new generation who -thanks to the support of the Enter! Program of the Council of Europe- had the opportunity to get trained, to evolve, to meet new people and relinquish stereotypes and prejudices. The project team worked with local authorities, various n.gos and youth representatives and even established international partnerships and initiatives, in particular with Turkey (Istanbul 2010 Organization) and the Balkans (local ngos).
The aim of the project was two-fold:
1. To promote social cohesion and creative citizenship thru a big international campaign, seminars and creative activities.
2. To highlight the need for the creation of a consolidated youth policy in Greece.
The objectives are:
- To raise awareness about human and social rights through training courses, seminars, cultural activities and campaigns in schools and educational institutions.
- To raise awareness about the function of European Institutions promoting human rights and stability and offering opportunities to young people, as well as the mission of the Council of Europe.
- To inform about the Enter program and similar initiatives (y.i.a, etc) that can make a difference in one’s daily life.
- To inspire young people to act responsibly and creatively for their community.
- To empower women and youth representatives so as to address discrimination and encourage them to act creatively in their community.
- To address unemployment by providing specialized training in specific domains so as to encourage self-employment.
- To promote intercultural dialogue and artistic expression as a tool for peace and well-being.
Target group: young people aged 15-35 in Western Thessaloniki, particularly Nea Politia, Evosmos, Efkarpia, Stavroupoli and Oreokastro, areas mainly inhabited by migrants, considered disadvantaged due to unemployment, poverty, criminality and illiteracy, as well as discrimination triggered by social stereotypes.
More than a 100 young people were directly addressed by the project. Hundreds of others were indirectly involved thru our activities and the media.
The current stage of the project: Finalised
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