Youth & Intergenerational Solidarity

EVS projects in the EU (Austria, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK), Latin America (Colombia, Honduras and Mexico), Asia (India and Indonesia), and Africa (Morocco, Kenya, South Africa), as well as the Russian Federation.

16 long-term volunteer placements from September 2012 to June 2013.

The multilateral EVS project “Youth and Intergenerational Solidarity” took up the priorities of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, promoting intergenerational support and solidarity. Ageing populations present considerable challenges to existing infrastructure, welfare, health and pension financing, which in turn puts a strain on relationships between generations. Simultaneously, age coupled with aspects like social class, gender, disabilities, etc. compounds the problems of the elderly, creating an environment of inequality within which they -sometimes barely- survive. Enhancing the quality of life of the older generation, the volunteers in this project have been working to create a holistic society that is just and equal, and sustainable across board for all generations.

This reciprocal 9-month EVS project enabled 16 young people to participate in intergenerational projects or those primarily addressing elders from disadvantaged backgrounds on four continents. Accordingly, projects include an intergenerational community development centre (UK), homes for disabled adults and elders (Austria, Spain), homes for elders (Italy, Iceland, India, Honduras, Kenya), a nursing home for the elderly (Indonesia), homes for disabled elders (Poland, South Africa), veteran’s hospital (Russia), and support centres for the elderly (Mexico, Colombia, Morocco).

The project aimed at developing a “society for all ages” and enabled the mobility and participation of youth by placing them in intergenerational projects or those adressing the elderly from disadvantaged backgrounds or elders with disabilities. It promoted intercultural learning and dialogue, challenging discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion, and thereby also strengthening mutual understanding and respect between youth around the world. It initiated a process of self-reflection to counter preconceived notions, perceptions and attitudes of volunteers and local communities not only with respect to the older generation but also socio-cultural practices in the host country, promoting in this way social inclusion and cultural diversity.

The volunteers in this project have therefore served as bridges between generations – raising awareness, stimulating debate, fighting exclusion and having a real impact on the lives of people.