Results of the seminar “Inclusive Solidarity” held in Madrid in 2019
With the project “Inclusive Solidarity“, we brought together 15 youth workers from 8 European countries to reflect on inclusion and to share experiences on how to reach and support youth with fewer opportunities to become volunteers. It was funded by the European Commission through its Erasmus+ program and took place in Madrid from 6-12 October 2019. The hosting organisation was SCI Madrid, a branch of the international peace and volunteering organisation Service Civil international (SCI).
Including youth with fewer opportunities is extremely valuable. We as a peace organisation believe in equality and non-violence on all levels. If we want to work on justice, we must make sure that those groups that have the least opportunities are visible in our organisations, our movements and the opportunities to create good in the world that we provide. Including youth with fewer opportunities makes also us stronger, because diversity means strength and resilience as a movement and as an organisation.
Who are youth with opportunities?
Some youth have more barriers than others. Young people with fewer opportunities face difficulties and obstacles in their lives that other youth don‘t need to face. This could be:
- discrimination due to being a minority (e.g. black youth and youth of color)
- social barriers (e.g. youth with addiction problems, young parents)
- economic and financial difficulties (e.g. unemployed youth, youth from working class backgrounds, homeless youth)
- learning and educational difficulties
- physical or mental disabilities
- health conditions
- cultural or religious barriers (e.g. young migrants and refugees, youth from religious minorities)
- barriers related to gender identity and sexual orientation (e.g. LGBTI youth)
- geographical barriers (e.g. young people from remote areas or from urban problem areas).
What could motivate a young person with fewer opportunities to do volunteering?
Again, every individual is different. Some motivations that youth with fewer opportunities could have:
Contributing to the common good of society
Changing their life, escaping from routine and toxic environments
Facing fears, becoming independent and growing as a person
Gaining new skills
Getting work experience
Gaining skills and new languages
Experiencing intercultural settings and traveling
Making new friends, feeling of belonging, meeting like-minded people
Finding out what they want to do with their life
Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps have support systems made specifically for youth with fewer opportunities! The program by the European Commission has lots of opportunities for youth from these groups:
There is extra funding to support the participation of young people with fewer opportunities. This funding can be used to pay for tailormade preparation, extra linguistic support, for an assistant, etc.
European Solidarity Corps usually lasts for 2 to 12 months, but for youth with fewer opportunities individual volunteering can last also 2 weeks to 2 months.
Inclusion A to Z. A compass to international inclusion projects. The best of all SALTO Inclusion’s youth work manuals in one publication.
Value the Difference Resource Pack. Value the Difference is a resource pack for youth workers, containing information and tools to engage young people across many topics relating to cultural diversity
Erasmus+ Inclusion and Diversity Strategy. Background of the European Union‘s strategy to support vulnerable groups in society and young people who lack opportunities of their peers.