Points of View
Social intervention and professional integration: perspectives of learners, volunteers and social workers
The project « Points of View » is financially supported by the EU in the framework of a Grundtvig partnership. It is realized in cooperation of five organisations from Germany (Internationaler Bund e.V. - Verbund Brandenburg), Finland (Valtakunnallinen työpajayhdistys ry TPY), France (Centre d'Animation Social et Familial), Poland (Internationaler Bund Polska) and Turkey (İB Eğitim ve Toplumsal Hizmetler Limited Şirketi).
The objective is to put into action proposals made by all partners to improve the life situations of people they work with.
The needs addressed are those of persons subject to the vagaries of the labour market, whose children have reduced chances of academic achievement and vocational training. This population is often on the road to social exclusion. This risk is a measure of socio-economic and socio-cultural changes that they can not influence (reduced social mobility, economic insecurity, weakness in the cultural field).
The envisaged partnership allows for the possibility of a collective and comparative reflection on the problematic situations of life in the different countries and regions represented.
Furthermore, a network between the five associations shall be established in order to allow for the mobility of the learners within the framework of the various European Union programmes (Leonardo, Grundtvig, Youth in Action) in the future.
Within the framework of the project
- approaches and innovative methods in the socio-educational domains and of the professional integration are compared and developed,
- the social, educational and cultural realities in every country are discovered,
- the key skills of the learners are highlighted (during the activities at the local level and during the mobilities), and
- intercultural openness and learning is facilitated for all the participants.
European Added Value
- For the learners: intercultural opening, acquisition of key skills, improvement of their situation
- For the trainers / social workers / teachers: intercultural opening, acquisition of key skills, enrichment of their educational approaches and educational methods, hindsight to allow the innovation
- For the participating organisations: knowledge of the socio-educational system at the European level, discovery of new possibilities of action, construction of a partnership allowing the mobility of their public
- Comparing educational systems
- Intercultural education
- Learning opportunities for people at risk of social marginalisation
Education / Training Fields
- Self-esteem skills
- Personal skills
- Learning to learn
- Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
- Social and civic competences
-Communication in foreign languages
Points of View in Bischwiller / France 01.-04.12.2010
The first project meeting aimed at getting to know each project partner's organisation and at planning efficient project works. It was revealed that there are quite similar working methods in the four participating countries concerning work with unemployed youth. Each organisation has grown into its cultural and social environment, responding to the needs present in society at micro level.
During the meeting it was decided to explore the field of social work in each country by collecting and translating information and also considering participants' points of view on the following topics:
- What kind of system we have? What different working methods?
- What are the different occupations, what do we do?
- What kind of point of views, experiences or expectations our participants have about the social work? What do they think about the system?
Information about the countries
- Official general information in numbers, pictures etc.
- What are the things that our participants value about their own country?
- How does the educational system work in our countries?
- How is the nonformal learning (or education) recognised in our country?
- What kind of experiences do our participants have concerning education or different and individual ways to professional education and work-life?
- What are the unemployment statistics in our countries and how have they developed during last years?
- What kind of solutions have been found to decrease youth unemployment?
- What kind of experiences do participants have concerning unemployment? What does it mean to be young and without a job?
Another important aim of the project is to describe best practices of each of the participating organisations and share them with the other partners.If possible these practises shall be implemented in different countries to find out how they work in different cultural environments.
Points of View in Istanbul / Turkey 06.-10.04.2011
Visit to the Dreams Academy
The Dreams Academy offers leisure activities, sports, theater, climbing activities, the "Best Body" project, integration and training courses for disabled, disadvantaged children, adolescents and adults. The objective is to get the customers into paid jobs.
Information about the educational System in Turkey
- Public School for informal education
Ismek offers vocational education training courses for adults from 16 years onwards with the aim to place the participants into paid work and to promote their independence.
Visit at the Infopoint - Information and consulting office of Üsküdar Municipality
Kadiköy Halk Egitim Merkezi
The public Kadiköy Halk Eğitim Merkezi offers non formal vocational education training, hobby courses, glass factory, etc. for dults aged 15 years and older.
Ismen - Street Children Project (Rehabilitation Centre)
The city and state funded Ismen works with young men between 14 and 25 with the aim to integrate them into society, in education and employment, to provide education and leisure activities, and to place them into internships.
- What is social work in our country?
- What is a social worker in our country?
- Who makes the social work in our country?
- Non-Formal Education for Integration (good practice)?
Discussion about research methods in the different countries
« Point of view » - exploration of opinions about « integration » from three perspectives:
1. From the perspective of social workers,
2. From the perspective of the unemployed,
3. From the perspective of others, acting in the field of social work
Points of View in Frankfurt (Oder) / Germany 10.-15.10.2011
City tour through Frankfurt (Oder) to get to know places of social integration and places related to European topics and employment:
- Job Center, consulting office and information center for self studies
- European Information Center
- Social integration consulting center
- Municipality and city services for foreigners and newcomers
- Heinrich von Kleist Art Workshop and Gallery
Activities at the climbing wall and rope to develop and improve self confidence, trust, concentration and power.
Presentation of the home countries with their specialties, traditions and further information.
Information about the Vocational Educational System in Germany given at the visit at Chamber of Commerce Frankfurt (Oder) for the Ostbrandenburg Region.
Visit at the canteen of the Europe University Viadrina, where young people work as trainees
Guided visit to Slubice, the neighbor town of Frankfurt (Oder)
The city of Slubice in Poland was founded after WW II. The bridge which connects Frankfurt and Slubice is not just a bridge but rahter a meeting-point between the countries/cultures.
The two cities organise festivals together for new year's eve and other festivals. Furthermore, the Europe University Viadrina in Frankfurt and the University of Poznan in Poland work closely together.
Participants designed a house where their soul can be happy and find peace and presented it to the others.
Points of View in Helsinki, Finland 21.-25.05.2012
In Mai 2012 the fourth Points of View meeting took place in Helsinki, Finland. The partners and participants from Germany, France, Poland and Turkey arrived in Helsinki and met the Finnish hosting team during a welcome dinner.
Get to know each other
The meeting started off with a short warm-up game in which every participant presented a feature of his or her hometown. Thereby participants got to know each other and learned about the differences between their homeplaces as well as the geographical distances between them.
Visit at Vihreän Oksan Werstas
The land for the Vihreän Oksan Werstas gardens was given as a gift from a Finnish citizen to the state in 1906. In 1912, the land started to be used as a training area for 60 girls. From the 1920s onwards, the government has furthermore provided plots of land on a 2 year lease to poor people for gardening. Currently, there are different projects realized in the garden. In one part, school children learn to cultivate and harvest products such as potatoes, carrots and fruits during school holidays. There are also workshops in which children learn how to cook the products they produced.
The Points of View participants met a group of handicapped school children between 7 and 16 years old and their garden art pedagogics. They are creating environmental arts projects on the occassion of the 100th anniversary of the garden.
In another part of the garden, young people with psychological problems learn traditional farming methods. Points of View participants worked together with them in the garden.
Presentation about the Kumpula School Garden
The Kumpula School Garden was established in the 1930s. Today, different projects aiming at young people who seek employment and education are implented. In the projects, participants learn about gardening, stone, wood and metal works but also about managing their daily lives and improving their working skills.They are also supported with job applications.
Participants also work outside Kumpula at work sites in Helsinki, such as parks and gardens. They sell their products in nearby Kumpula. Participants are paid by the state.
Presentation about Childrens & Youth Gardening Association
The association provides programmes that focus on the topics Well being through gardening, Healing, Rehabilitation and Therapy. It provides possiblities for children and youth to experience gardening and perform environmental arts. It also offers programmes for schools. The idea is to have a garden in every kindergarten or school. There are training volunteers. Furthermore, families can come to the garden with their kids and take home part of the harvest. Workshops are financed by game machines.
Learning goals for children
- Social skills
- To perform and appreciate work
- To understand processes, causal relationships
- Science by doing, seeing, experiencing
- Valuing their strengths
- Social well-being
- Higher self-esteem
- Less stress reaction (with ADHD etc.)
Presentation about Finland
Mari Ahonen-Walker provided participants with country information about Finland. The presentation comprised facts and figures, society and economy, state and government as well as the finnish education system.
Presentation about the National Workshop Association in Finland (TPY)
The National Workshop Association in Finland (TPY) was established in 1997. It is a non-governmental organization funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture that acts between practitioners and decision makers. TPY members include over 200 workshop organisations. Its aim is to prevent exclusion from society. TPY focuses on developing, training and informing on social employment.
Every year, a total of 21.000 people benefit from the different coaching and training programmes most of them aged under 29 years of age
Youth festival called Ihanko Pihalla?
The participants visited and participated in art workshop events in Hyvinkää in the framework of Ihanko Pihalla ? festival where young people exhibit their art works and different kinds of fun activities, such as sumo wrestling, milking activity, are on offer.
Visit at HRAKS (Riihimäki Area Training Foundation) in Hyvinkää
HRAKS is an association focusing on the needs of youth with social, mental or learning problems and on those who need help for living an independent life.
The participants visited the wood workshops for youth and exchanged opinions with 13 young people who currently work at HRAKS and are supported to find a permanent work place. There is another wood workshop area for adults.
HRAKS facilities include Cafe Sveitsi (Cafe & Customer Service Workshop) with a meeting room, a cafe (7 workers) and several swimming pools. Most HRAKS programme participants do real work, some are participating in rehabilitation only programmes.
The association furthermore works as youth detectives seeking youth who live with their family doing nothing and having phobias. If these young people don't answer the telephone or open the door, parents, friends or their schools can call HRAKS. Employes go there and try to establish a connection with the young people and invite them to participate in its workshops.
Visit at VAMOS (Outreach Work & Rehabilitating workshop activities)
The participants met VAMOS staff and discussed their activities. VAMOS is an association financed by the church and state with 12 employees, 700 clients and contacts to 300 schools. It offers services for young people 1) with health problems, 2) who need lots of support due to mental health problems, crime or drug abuse, and 3) who spent their time at home and often suffer from depression or social problems.
VAMOS is about the Finnish law informed by the schools if pupils drop out of school and subsequently offer them to participate in their programmes which mainly focus on everyday life skills. Social skills are trained by group activities such as having lunch together.
The association also runs a Employment Support Project supported by the EU and implemented in cooperation with small and midium-sized companies. The programme participants are encouraged to chose freely an area of occupation according to their skills and preferences and are subsequently supported in the application process such as contacting the companies where they wish to work. After a month trial and training the companies decide whether the youth are suitable to work with them.
Visit at SININEN VERSTAS
Sienen Verstas is owned and run by Helsinki municipality. The participants visited the cooking school and exchanged points of view with the young people who are trained there in cooking and arts as well as the sewing workshop where young girls make clothes, coverings, artistic things etc.
Visit to HERO (Center for people with learning difficulties)
HERO offers services and courses for the following target groups: different learners, their parents, teachers, employers, authorities as well as people working in the social and health care sector. Most participants are adults with dyslexia or concentration problems. The participants met teachers and learners and discussed their programmes.
Evaluation of the Helsinki Meeting
Participants exchanged ideas, observations and impressions about the project meeting in Helsinki and made plans for the future.
Within the framework of the project the project partners collectively reflected and compared the problematic situations of life in the different countries and regions represented. In order to collect comparable data, interviews were carried out with unemployed youth and those who work with them.
In Germany, it turned out rather difficult to carry out the interviews as the unemployed young people and long term unemployed adults asked did not want to reply verbally. However, they agreed to fill out the questionnaire. Furthermore, two young German girls made a visual project about unemployment.
In France, interviews were carried out at the end of a workshop for and with 16 to 20 year olds. The young people asked about unemploymend, however, did not realize their current unemployment situation. Therefore collecting their opinions about their unemployment turned out to be difficult.
In Turkey interviews were carried out with unemployed people, mainly between 18 and 40 years old. Additionally, a photo project with young people who are unemployed due to mental disabilities was organized as well as discussion groups about employment unemployement with mental handicapped people. The photo project focused on (un-)employment. Positive and negative sides of being unemployed were reflected by young unemployed people, who do volontary work to fill the mass of freetime.
Interviews were also carried out with expert working with young people at risk. Many experts deal with other topics related to their clients as e.g. mental disabilities and do not see the importance of paid work for their clients. It was therefore rather difficult to find experts who were wanted to participate in the survey.
Download interview questionnaires here.
Evaluation of the Project
Young learners who participated in the project workshops expressed their exitement about the possibility to participate in the project, meet and exchange views with young people from other countries and social workers. Furthermore, they appreciated the opportunity to try new things during the workshops and discovered their talents.
Besides professional skills, being creative is important in the labour market. Also in the social system creativity is highlighted as an instrument for personal and professional development.
Communication and Foreign Languages
For some participants communication was difficult and limited their ability to actively participate in the meetings as they do not speak foreign languages very well. However, this experience gave them motivation to learn languages.
Finnish Social System
Appreciation of Finish social workers respect for young people and their approach to encourage them to take on responsibility for themselves. The Finnish social system respects peoples individual needs and preferences and offers individual programmes. The educational system is designed to include everybody.
Problems look more or less the same in all the participating countries but solutions are different. Participants agreed that in instead of seeing these problems EU countries should focus on action in order to solve these problems.
Volunteering is very important and highly esteemed in all areas of the social sector in Finland. In Germany, however, most work in the social sector is done by paid workers. Voluntary action should be higher esteemed in Germany too not least regarding the budget cuts in the social field.
In the social sector, there are people from a variety of educational backgrounds. As different professionals work in the same projects team work becomes more effective.
Download materials related to the project
Presentation about the project "Points of View"
Presentation about Centre d'Animation Social et Familial (CASF)
Presentation about Valtakunnallinen työpajayhdistys ry (TPY)
Presentation about the Diverse learners association in Helsinki HERO
Questionnaire about Unemployment
Questionnarie for Social Workers