Archive of European Projects

B-Social!
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Jan 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In contemporary times, citizens' engagement in creating various civic initiatives and their willingness to influence conditions of life in the society seem to be crucial elements building the perfect European society. Yet, one can still see, in many countries, the decrease in interest in voluntary services among young people. Having seen so many political disputes and almost no media coverage on the benefits of voluntary work and its influence on social capital, young people conclude that such actions are not only pointless, but are also a waste of time. In this sense, any kind of pro bono work looks like an outdated and ineffective concept. Intrigued and bothered by such a trend among youngsters, we decided to take actions aimed at promoting good practices, activeness and voluntary work - the foundation for efficiently functioning civic society. That is why we invited to Warsaw five young volunteers from Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia who, during their twelve-month stay in Poland, were making young people more aware of potential benefits of working for common good and encouraging them to participate in all kinds of civic actions. The foreigners coming to our country organized various events and discussions with youngsters and by discovering reasons for such lack of activeness, gave them examples of good practices and triggered their interest in acting socially. Apart from long-lasting contacts with youngsters, our volunteers reached different institutions in Warsaw, such as community centers. They were helping people in those institutions with their everyday duties and creating various enterprises that increased knowledge about European Union and the benefits that are the result of having integrated European community. Thanks to those activities our volunteers promoted the idea of including pro bono workers in various initiatives and were a visible sign for those organizations, that volunteering as a tool may come handy in improving the conditions of life and increasing the degree of social capital. We know, that thanks to our project, in the long run, the number of people actively engaged in voluntary work will be increased, not only on the European level, but also locally. Moreover, a very obvious and important consequence of our volunteers' work will be the change in the mindset of people in Warsaw who, while facing active people from other countries, had an opportunity to observe that multiculturalism and maintaining contact with people from other parts of the world is a good way of personal development and increases open-mindedness. Consequently, our actions and the presence of our volunteers helped, at least to a small degree, overcoming negative stereotypes still present in our society and replace them with tolerance.
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