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From Marginalized Communities Towards Social Unity
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Young people in Europe today are facing multiple barriers and problems, thus it is essential that they are supported in developing their own identity, in creating a social network a& are included and respected by society (“The contribution of youth work to address the challenges young people are facing, in particular the transition from education to employment”, DG EAC, 2015). The challenges faced by young people are of three dimensions, i.e. individual, relational, and societal. Those are intrinsically linked and able to bring about positive changes for young individuals, marginalized communities and European social landscape. In addition, persons with disabilities need specific empowerment-centred actions that change their self-perception and the perception of the surrounding world (“Disability & Development: How to include persons with disabilities in development cooperation”.). Moreover, the issue of the current refugee crisis shall be taken into account. As noted by the EU Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018, youth work and cross-sectorial cooperation shall be strengthened with the aim of contribution to the opportunities & challenges raised by the increasing numbers of young migrants and refugees in the EU. The challenge of European social & societal landscape with its growing cultural and demographic diversity is to be seen as a mutually-enriching opportunity rather than an obstacle.The “From Marginalized Communities Towards Social Unity – My CommUNITY” Project sets the OBJECTIVES:• To unleash the social and professional capital of the volunteers by development and reinforcement of their soft and transversal skills, and Key Competences crucial for their social inclusion & economic integration;• To foster a culture of entrepreneurship and initiative in young people by providing a conducive space for translating their creative and innovative ideas into reality; • To develop volunteers’ foreign language competences in both English and Italian; • To significantly empower three groups of marginalized communities – volunteers with fewer opportunities, migrant community, disabled locals - raising their self-esteem and self-appreciation;• To reinforce inter-cultural & inter-religious dialogue, cherished diversity and multilingualism by bringing together young volunteers and migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the co-working, co-learning and communication space;• To trigger communication & mutual understanding between local migrant communities and disabled locals through the volunteers acting as intermediary chain between them;• To popularise grass-root and cross-border volunteering as a tool for individuals’ learning and empowering opportunities, and European CommUNITY.PARTICIPANTS10 EVS volunteers from 5 countries:. Greece, Hungary, France, Norway, Spain. 5 RECEIVING ORGANISATIONSHosting volunteers and providing them with a favourable working, learning and socializing atmosphere in the period of 01/10/2016 – 31/07/2017 in Palermo.A1→ CESIE office;A2 → Ubuntu - multicultural playground that involves 30 children of migrant families;A3→ Cooperativa La Fraternità – local social center for persons with physical and mental disabilities;A4→ Edificando - local social center for persons with physical and mental disabilities. A5→ Casa di tutte le genti – a multicultural playground for 40 children of migrant families;METHODOLOGYThe concept of UNESCO Four Pillars of Education is an over-arching methodological strategy of the Project:(i) Learning to Know, (ii) Learning to Do, (iii) Learning Live Together, (iv) Learning to Be. The Project will use participative and learner-centred approach in an action-based learning environment. Non-formal and informal activities will underpin both local and international dimensions. RESULTS & IMPACT(i) EVS volunteers → (i) developed and/or reinforced their social capacities, soft and transversal skills, Key Competences, professional knowledge and attitudes; (ii) triggered sense of initiative & entrepreneurship, unleashed innovative and creative capacities; (iii) strengthened sense of tolerance, solidarity and respect of human rights and diversity; (iv) the paved way for volunteers’ personal & professional fulfilment, active citizenship & raised opportunities for employability.(ii) Local migrants, refugees and asylum seekers – adults, youngsters, children→ (i) strengthened perspectives for cross-cultural & inter-generational interactions, and improved their soft skills; (ii) defined social role and a clearer future plan in Palermo; (iii) raised sensitiveness on the issues of physical & mental disabilities; (iv) increased social integration and potential future job opportunities through participation in local volunteering.(iii) Local disabled persons→ (i) life-changing experience opening new horizons and new ways of communication & relationship; (ii) encounters with migrant community will enrich both target groups in terms of human connections.
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