Aiming at the information and public awareness about Social Street Work as well as the training of our volunteers, Emfasis Foundation team hosted the Event “Methodology and Meaning of Social Street Work” and the Educational – Experiential Workshop.
The purpose of the Event “Methodology and Meaning of Social Street Work” held on November 5th, was to highlight the importance of the work of Social Street Workers against social exclusion of vulnerable groups (homeless, beggars, illegal substances users, working unaccompanied children, refugees and the poor).
Alexandra Koronaiou, Professor of the Department of Psychology, at the Panteion University, talked about the humanitarian crisis that Greek society is facing nowadays, referring to the “distrust of the population against each institution’s activities” as well as the difficulty that organizations are facing while they are trying to carry out their work.
Special guest speakers were Don Irving and Simon Whitmore – members of the UK Federation of Detached Youth and authors of the toolkit “On the Road: A practical guide for social scientists working on the street”. The same toolkit was presented by them in the course of the following two days Workshop.
The audience was informed about the statistics gathered by the team of Emfasis Social Street Workers with regards to the vulnerable social groups in Athens and for the period June 2013 – June 2014. The statistics showed that 37% are homeless, while both beggars and drug users represent 16%. However, the worrying fact was the rising percentage of underage children who work which is 12%. Finally, according to the findings of Emfasis, the most frequently observed age category on the street includes people aged over 51 years old, while most of the cases recorded include men.
Educational – Experiential Workshop
The Educational – Workshop for social scientists held on 6th and 7th November 2014 by Don Irving, Simon Whitmore and Valbona Hystuna – member of Dynamo International – as facilitators, aimed to contribute to the development of knowledge and skills necessary for social street work. During the seminar the two British authors talked about the toolkit and offered practical advice on security issues and the dilemmas faced by new social workers on the street.
Participants had the opportunity through various experiential activities not only to understand the importance of a Social Street Worker’s preparation, and ways to avoid stereotypes, but also to learn about methods of approaching people on the street. Finally, the Workshop highlighted the importance of
cooperation and of knowledge and practices exchange amongst social street work teams, operating both abroad and in Greece, contributing to synergies and results optimisation.