4.7 Youth work to foster social inclusion
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In Flanders, youth work with socially vulnerable children and young people has a great variety, both in the public targeted, in method as in activities offered. These initiatives align their leisure activities as much as possible with the situation of socially vulnerable youth.
Masterplan diversity in youth work (Masterplan Diversiteit in het Jeugdwerk)
The previous Minister of Youth, Sven Gatz, presented the Masterplan diversity in/and youth work in the Flemish Parliament on 23 February 2018. This Masterplan for diversity in/and youth work is based on four major pillars:
- Realisation of a larger youth work offer and the creation of more equal opportunities so that all children and young people can fully enjoy the opportunities that youth work offers
- Making more connections between the separate circuits of the regular youth organizations and the target group-specific organisations, thus achieving more social integration
- Research and monitoring: Detecting research needs, collecting and making available existing figures, weighing on the research agenda for diversity and monitoring
- Networking and internationalization
Professionalized youth work with socially vulnerable youth
Once every six years, the Flemish Government can grant operating subsidies to professionalized youth work with socially vulnerable children and young people in order to create or stimulate the participation of socially vulnerable children and young people. This allows the children and young people involved to find connections with institutions or organizations that can help them integrate into society in order to overcome their deprivation or exclusion. For the period 2021 to 2027 the Flemish Government granted 7 organisations operating grants for a total of €1,473,780 per year.
In addition, the broader youth work sector also invests in accessibility and diversity.
Below the relevant structural subsidized youth work organizations are listed.
Akindo organizes vacations for children, youth and families. They focus mainly on people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and guidance homes in Flanders.
Arktos is a Flemish expertise centre for children and adolescents aged 6 to 25 years for whom the connection to school, work and society appears less evident.
Bison is an association that organizes leisure activities for social disadvantaged children and young people. Their main focus is the organization of holiday camps, but via its actions Bison also pursues to contribute to a better understanding of and tolerance towards social vulnerability.
Construction Order (Bouworde)
Bouworde aims to develop young people and make them aware of social reality. They pursue this goal by giving them the opportunity to express their solidarity by contributing to improvement projects. So, Bouworde is a youth organization that is trying to fight poverty and insecurity by providing assistance in the area of housing with the help of young volunteers. It does this through the organization of social, technical and ecological construction camps for young people between 18 and 30 years. Construction camps take place in Flanders, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Intro group (Groep Intro) is a training organization dedicated to social disadvantaged young people, with particular attention to low-skilled youth. The organisation wants to provide resources to encourage these young people’s personal development and to increase their participation and integration in society through an education-oriented approach. Its main tasks are: sensitization, information, guidance and training of youth (assists) leaders and intermediates.
Habbekrats is a training service for young people of marginalized groups aged 12 to 25 years. The service is a forum for different projects. Each project has a low threshold and works integrally. The actions of Habbekrats focus mainly on a preventive level.
JKVG is an organization of young people (6-30 years) with and without disabilities. Under the name Hannibal JKVG organizes holidays and international group exchanges at home and abroad. For young people without disabilities and young people with a purely physical disability, there are training courses (animator, head trainer). JKVG also has a dozen local centers, which offer leisure activities for young people with and without disabilities. In its activities, the organization also focuses on employment for people with disabilities. With’ De Werkbank’ (Workbench), they work towards an inclusive labour market. The workbench helps young people with practical questions about job applilcations, provides individual guidance or guides young peole in finding a suitable workplace.
KAJ is a youth movement which defends and works for, by and with all school-aged, unemployed and young workers between 12 and 30 years, with a specific focus on young people in vocational, technical and special needs education (educational tracks TSO, BSO & BUSO) and social vulnerable young people. By means of training and action KAJ guides young people in their growth to consciousness, individual and collective responsibility aimed at a democratic, grassroots-oriented and just society.
Kei-Jong wants to support work-able young people with intellectual disabilities in the field of integration, participation, self-development and self-determination.
Lejo provides young people with a low level of education opportunities to develop their personality. The aim is to increase the participation of these young people in their own environment and in broader society. Moreover, Lejo defends their interests and acts as their spokesperson.
Tumult is a youth service working on peace education. Tumult gives training to youth and youth workers and organizes educational activities for children and youth such as camps, peace travels, intercultural walks, immersion travels ... In addition Tumult develops a wide range of playful, often interactive products that reinforce peace education with children and young people. The association operates on the following themes: cultural respect, prevention of bullying, sustainability, dealing with conflicts and learning from war.
Uit De Marge is The Flemish Network for youth work with disadvantaged children and young people.
Wel Jong Niet Hetero (WJNH – Young but Not Hetero) regroups and guides local gay youth groups, organizes national initiatives such as the gay camp, meetings days, forum meetings, minus-19 (school activity), gay parties. WNJH also gives management training for LGBT youth workers. Furthermore, WJNH is the contact point regarding LGBT youth themes in Flanders.
The purpose of YFU is to prepare young people over the world for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing society in which people from different countries and cultures are becoming more interdependent.
Same organisations as mentioned in section above.
Most training covers the general development of youth workers, but some workshops and trainings for youth workers focus in particular on social inclusion. Some examples:
In addition to the leisure activities that BIZON organizes for vulnerable young people (see above), the organization also puts heavy emphasis on the training of youth workers, volunteers or supervisors who come into contact with disadvantaged children and young people.
The association Motief develops and organizes training at the intersection of religion/ ideology and society. At the moment (2016) they organize (in cooperation with ‘Uit de Marge’) a training called “Young people, Islam and identity”. In this training youth workers develop a professional approach towards ideological identity and learn more about identity development of Muslim youth and the role of their organization in working met Muslim youth.
For information on the organization, see section “main inclusive youth-work programmes”. They, for instance, organize a training on refugee children and how to reach, motivate and involve them in youth work.
Uit De Marge is The Flemish Network for youth work with disadvantaged children and young people. Their training is aimed primarily at youth workers who work with these groups, but their trainings are also open to members of youth services and other sectors who work with vulnerable children and young people in a voluntary setting. They offer both general trainings for youth workers who work with disadvantaged groups, but also thematic trainings. Examples of thematic trainings are:
- Poverty and youth (welfare) work
- Location-oriented working
- Suicide Prevention: How Can I Act?
Wel Jong Niet Hetero (WJNH) regroups and guides local gay youth groups, organizes national initiatives such as the gay camp, meetings days, forum meetings, minus-19 (school activity), gay parties. WNJH also gives management training for LGBT youth workers. Furthermore, WJNH is the contact point regarding LGBT youth themes in Flanders.
All the organisations mentioned above are structural subsidised associations. They qualify for structural funding and project funding of the Flemish Government (Subsidies). They receive an annual grant of 80,000 euros and can request additional variable subsidies. See also chapter 5.6 for more information.
Each structural subsidized youth association must submit an annual progress report which entails among others a financial report and an activity report.