Network A Facilitating access and return to the labour market for those who have difficulty in being integrated or reintegrated into a labour market which must be open to everyone.
Project name Another Opportunity
Project number A0283

Project description

The objective of the Partnership is to establish an efficient system of support to occupational and social reintegration of those relegated to the margin of life.

The Project is implemented in Powiśle - a specific district of Warsaw, where the social structure and housing conditions (a lot of low standard and old tenement houses, vandalised primarily by the tenants) encourage social dysfunctions. Due to unemployment, alcoholism and crime prevailing in the district, as well as long-term reliance on welfare, the local residents are deprived of any positive role models. They live in a closed dysfunctional environment, isolated from any other lifestyles. Final beneficiaries of the Project are mainly unemployed people, ex-inmates of care or correctional centres and ex-convicts. Many of them are alcohol addicts, severely ill or demoralised persons. They are despised or feared by the society. Institutional welfare provides them with ad-hoc support only.

The Partnership, established by the Powiśle Community Foundation that has operated for years in the district, is planning to create a local system for social and occupation reintegration of permanently unemployed persons, who are already affected by social exclusion. Separate prevention measures will be targeted at children of final beneficiaries. Being raised in a dysfunctional environment makes them prone to demoralisation and inheritance of parents' weaknesses: learned helplessness, passivity, demanding attitudes and unemployment. They follow parent's way of living and add to the poverty-stricken area chronic problems. The Project will involve assistance in providing children with care and upbringing problem solving, as well as support to integration and social development of young people. In order for the community work to bring about meaningful outcomes, professional approach and a thorough knowledge of the local environment is required. Previous experience of Project administrator and the involvement of Powiśle Community Foundation will allow for selecting the right final beneficiaries.

A system for training future social workers has been developed under the Project. Students of post-secondary Social Workers School - a partner of the Project - and university students majoring in social science will contribute to the Project as individual assistants coached by Project Coordinator. This will enable them to gain experience and test their knowledge of theory so that their skills are improved. Induction will include lectures, workshop/training events, internships and study visits.

Partnership activities will address both living conditions and mental aspects of beneficiaries' performance. The approach is innovative in terms of individualised approach. Each participant will be provided with psychological and social assistance. In addition, they will be given an opportunity to participate in skill and vocational qualification improvement activities. Personality training and psychological support will motivate them to social work and occupational activity. The Partnership offers special courses to facilitate an improvement in vocational skills and provide the mean for bridging educational gaps. The assistants will be responsible for helping the beneficiaries to find and retain "friendly" jobs, while providing feedback on the performance
of the beneficiaries.

Pilot stage is expected to contribute with concrete methods developed under international cooperation, since the Partnership is planning to take advantage of foreign partners' experience and apply efficient unemployment fighting tools from countries that are familiar with the problem. This will help to establish the profile of "family assistant" - a coach and advisor of those who are living at the margin of life and their family members. The assistant will be equipped with psychological tools for encouraging pro-active attitudes of his/her protégés.

The Partnership is also about lobbying for socially stigmatized people. An informational campaign promoting their activities is expected to contribute to change the opinion on this marginalised group and to promote the idea of creating conditions that are conducive to their occupational and social reintegration.

A proven local system for counteracting social exclusion will be disseminated under the Project. Final report will include a description of the methodology, threats and outcomes. It is also planned to shoot a documentary on Partnership's activities. Information sharing and ongoing promotion of the Project will be based on an online platform.