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Youth-work project alters mindset

24 May 2013

by a staff reporter


Concentration: a Global Youth Work roadshow at the Bradford YMCA. The roadshows brought together young people and youth workers to explore topics such as HIV/AIDs, disability rights, the global drugs trade, conflict and homelessness

Concentration: a Global Youth Work roadshow at the Bradford YMCA. The roadshows brought together young people and youth workers to explore topics su...

A REPORT on a project working with marginalised young people in the UK to develop their understanding of global issues, such as poverty and international development, has found that it changed their mindsets to the extent that they actively supported charity campaigns, or chose to buy Fairtrade products.

"Global Youth in Action", run by the relief and development partner of the YMCA, Y Care International, involved more than 1100 young people aged between 16 and 25. It took place, over three years, in 33 separate youth-work projects in different locations across the UK, and included Skype sessions between Nottingham and Zimbabwe, and sessions on immigration and gang culture.

The aim of the project, which was funded by the Department for International Development, was to enable "marginalised" young people - those who were homeless, economically deprived, or marginalised because of their disability or sexuality - to find out about development issues. At the end of the project, 91 per cent of those who took part said that they could see links between their lives and people in the Global South.

The author of the report, Dr Momodou Sallah, of De Montfort University, said: "This is about engaging young people who are marginalised: young people in prisons, young people who are homeless, young people who are disabled.

"By looking at global issues, and how young people are at the centre of them, marginalised young people in the UK can begin to see their own lives in a different way, and consequently begin to take action in their own lives that is commensurate with their abilities."

Almost all those who took part in the project say that they learned a skill from it. They also reported that their behaviour had changed as a result of what they had learned, with many saying that they now bought Fair Trade products or signed up to charity campaigns.

The director of Global Youth Work at Y Care International, Tom Burke, said: "This report shows that youth workers can effectively engage disadvantaged young people in making connections about the world in which they live. . . We will use the evidence collected by De Montfort University to advocate for wider change to ensure all young people have access to global learning."


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