From Exclusion to Inclusion
A young victim of exclusion is a Young person who has lost all self-confidence, as well as confidence in others (often including members of their own family); someone whose self-esteem has hit rock bottom and who, despite appearances, is often very lonely; a Young person who has to struggle every day to eat, to keep up appearances … and as such is unable to make plans and imagine a future.
A Young adult who has achieved inclusion is someone with a life project. They have self-confidence and have developed professional and social skills. They don’t feel a daily sense of threat and have learned to interact with others.
Furthermore, a Young adult who has achieved insertion no longer worries about getting through each day; instead they can start to make plans and imagine a future, take charge of their professional life, and also assume the responsibilities of being a spouse, a parent, a neighbor, a citizen.
This transformation of a Youth existing in exclusion, to an adult taking control of his or her life, lies at the heart of LP4Y’s social value.
Such a transformation reflects positively on the family,
and also, more widely, on the community in which the individual lives.
Youth accompanied in the Life Project Centers
- Aged 17 to 24
- Living below the poverty threshold of US$1.90 per day
- Unsupported by family, victims of addiction, street youth, young unmarried mothers, ex-prisoners, young people with disabilities, young prisoners, migrants
First Criteria: the Youth’s motivation for change, which is checked during the motivation interview. The decision to follow the LP4Y track must come from the Youth.
LPC, integration eco-system
It takes a lot to prepare a young person for adult life. Young people from comfortable backgrounds would find it hard to name every teacher, coach, friend, trainer, family member, etc … who played a part in preparing them for adult life. They may number in the hundreds.
On the other hand, excluded Youth may find it hard to name even a handful of adults who played an active part in their upbringing. If we want to help such young people to integrate, we have to create the right conditions to allow them to join the decent world. We need to create a network of people who will play a part in their integration and who will help them learn the ropes and codes of the environments related to their projects.
The elements needed to allow young victims of poverty and exclusion to achieve successful integration are the following:
- Coaching, both individual and in groups
- Rooting the project in the community
- Communicating with local actors, facilitated by Community Mobilizers
- Involving committed economic actors
- Offering alumni participation (Entrepreneurs’ House, YIN, STARS Club)
The coach should be a sounding board for the youth. Through constant questioning the coach enables the youth to identify his or her own strengths and resourcefulness. Other contributors can be the family (sometimes), friends, the LP4Y team, plus also the trainers, professionals, suppliers and clients of the economic activity, and businesses.
This integration ecosystem is the training ground in which each Youth can evolve. It must be tailored to each individual.
Without doubt one of the gambles of the LP4Y project has been the ability to believe in the friendship, support and generosity of the hundreds of people across 8 countries sharing a common goal: the social and professional integration of all youth.
According to the young adults, friendship has been the biggest factor in their desire to make life changes.
The Youth at the center of the ecosystem
The LP4Y model has been developed by the Young themselves. They are involved with the development of the project on a daily basis.
Every day at LP4Y we see how important it is for the Young to develop self-knowledge if they want to build a project. And this is something best done by the Young themselves, working together to identify each other's’ personalities. For example, one of the first games they play when they join the center involves getting to know one of their new teammates and then creating their “portrait”, by making a collage with cut outs, drawings and words on a large poster. This turns out to be an excellent means of both experiencing and highlighting the importance of getting to know others when working in a team.
These “portraits” were assembled with such skill that we took the concept a little further …