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Project is very closely related to the definition of INCLUSIVE EDUCATION - special attitude towards formal, non-formal and informal education of youngsters with special educational needs. Under inclusion model, youngsters with special needs spend most of their time with non-disabled peers. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with physical and mental disabilities from non-disabled students. One of the successful tools of inclusive education is socialization, when all kinds of students are learning in one classroom, go together to practice work, participate in events and spend leisure time. It offers a realistic image of society and encourages the success of transition route from education to work.
The youth unemployment rate is getting higher in EU countries. Professional and employment opportunities for mentally disordered youngsters are especially limited, also because of low knowledge and awareness of employers about mental illness and labor law protecting such people and giving additional opportunities and benefit for employers.
With this project we wanted to compose MIXED-ABILITY-GROUP of youngsters and by having fun in good atmosphere to learn from each other of communication, tolerance and patience as well as to establish inter-cultural dialogue, boost self-esteem, develop creativeness and wake up artistic capabilities of all participants. By this project we wanted to show that we are so alike, inspite of our nationality, citizenship, cultural background and health problems.
The overall aim of the project was to develop skills and competences of young people, including those, who have mental disorders, necessary for successful integration into labor market. Also with this project we seeked to raise awareness and give knowledge for employees about mental illness, to contribute to inclusion of young people with mental illness into society.
The specific objectives of the project:
1. To develop entrepreneurship skills of young people by giving practical knowledge how to establish small home based business.
2. To train drawing, designing skills and feel of aesthetics, harmony and beauty of young people, which can become background for their home based business or necessary for future job. Also to demonstrate, how those skills and competences gained can be applied for youngsters job/business or within the organization, the members of which they are.
3. To share and analyze success stories of getting job both non-disabled and mentally disabled youngsters.
4. To find out what obstacles do not allowed for young people, including those who have psychiatric disorders, to find the job.
5. To help young people to become self-aware about their competencies and soft skills, to show evidence of those, and to recognize spaces for further development.
6. To equip youth workers with knowledge and experience of new practices to foster employability of young people, including those, who have mental disorders.
7. To raise youngsters' awareness about other countries and cultures.
By joining this project organizations want to support and help their young members, volunteers, workers or trainees both with mental disadvantages and healthy youngsters in gaining new skills for job market, intercultural experience, friends in Europe, work in multilingual mixed-ability-group.
Why we make focus on small home based business? Even if establishment of home business requires determination and efforts, at the same time it suggests for entrepreneur some flexibility and freedom in sense of time management and workload, because it can be main job or just additional occupation. Home business can be based on your hobby, therefore it is emotionally comfortable. This form of employment is suitable both for disabled and non-disbaled youngsters. Thanks to artistic methods and visual communication we can connect more easily with people, to understand deeper ourselves and others as well as discover our inside potential.
During Youth Exchange "Job Through the Art" young people:
- participated in theatricalized excursion in Old Town of Klaipėda "the Old Memel and its Mysterious Inhabitants" led by students of Klaipeda State University of Applied Sciences;
- composed food Mandala from various fruits and thus exercised the task as one international team;
- had study visit to studio of professional photographer www.dovilefoto.lt;
- created Land Art from nature material – stones, trees, twigs, sand and etc.
- participated in DrawingAssessment session led by partner from Netherlands;
- met with owners of handicraft and home based business, listened to their stories of success;
- were active in origami session and Silhouette drawing tasks;
- solved problems in World Café;
- presented their experience, which strengthened the link between young people and their employability in labor market (Cyprus - Transition service; Italy - integration of youth into work through social agriculture and natural tourism; The Netherlands - DrawingAssessment method) in dissemination event in Klaipeda Ernestas Galvanauskas Vocational Training Center. Partner countries introduced legal aspects of employment of young people with mental illness.
For the purpose of day evaluation, we used Knowledge Catcher and Emotional Thermometer. Each participant used to get 10 feathers of various colours. Every day, after all activities, each participant used to write down on the feather, what he/she learnt or found out during the day, and used to hang up the feather on knowledge catcher. Additionally, each participant every evening, used to put happy or unhappy faces on the thermometer.
The findings from Knowledge Cathcer were used by filling in Youthpass.
On 7-14 October 2017 33 young participants, including those who have mental and physical disorder and their accompanying persons from Lithuania, Italy, Cyprus and Netherlands, participated in Youth Exchange activities on the Baltic seacoast near Klaipeda (Lithuania).
Participants acquired knowledge about:
- situation of young people with psychiatric disorders in labor market of Lithuania, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands;
- the legal basis of employment of people with psychiatric disorders in partner countries;
- inclusive education in partner countries;
- how to establish small home based business;
- benefits of Youthpass;
- other countries and cultures;
- successful models of transition from education to work.
Participants gained the following skills:
- career planning
- writing, reading, speaking and listening to English language
- different cultures
- filling in Youthpass
- reflect educational activities
- using various forms of creative expression (drawing, painting, photo shooting)
- ability to feel beauty and aesthetic
- project management.
Improved personal and social competences:
- communication and teamwork in intercultural, multilingual mixed-ability group;
- public speech;
- feeling more confident about expressing the opinion;
- information analysis;
- critical thinking;
- time management;
- creative thinking.