|RMG – Project Europe: Salesians in Slovenia|
|Slovenia – Project Europe: Skala, education for street children|
|Slovenia – PE: the youth situation in a country profoundly changed|
(ANS – Celje) – Among the various activities carried on by the Salesians in Celje there is a rehabilitation program for young people between the ages of 15 and 26 who have no work. The acronym PUM stands for ‘project based education for young people’. It is financed by the Minister of Education and the European Social Fund.
Both those who have completed their formal education and those who have temporarily interrupted it can take part in the programme. PUM aims to help the participants to find a job or to re-enter the education system.
The programme runs every day. Mornings begin with breakfast together and conversation on some topic. The subjects are chosen according to the needs of the young people and are directed at their personal growth, openness to new horizons, active citizenship and team building.
This is followed by timetabling and the sharing out of tasks to be completed during the day. The focus of the programme is the individual work which each young person has to do that day and the personal goals to be achieved. The group comes together again for lunch which is prepared by two of the participants. During recreation there is time for sport and board games. The rest of the day is devoted to joint projects, such as preparing advertisements, working on the magazine, organising meetings with parents … These communal projects are based on the interests of the group and the young people take part in every stage of the project, from planning to execution and final evaluation.
Each week there are also classes in vocational training: making articles in clay, wood and textiles, and cookery. These classes, based on programmes used in schools and vocational training, benefit from contributions from outside workers. They occupy a full day once a week.
Other regular activities include personal interviews to review work carried out and plan future work. They also serve to develop a deeper understanding of the young people and their circumstances.
Veronika Bezgovšek, a tutor in the programme, relates: ‘Once a 25-year-old joined the programme because he had been obliged to do so by the Ministry of Employment, which had sent the young adult to PUM. He never tired of reminding us that it was not his decision! At first he was very timid. He only accepted work if it was absolutely necessary. He always stayed on the edge of things and never gave his own opinion in discussions.
‘He had been sent to PUM because he had not completed his studies. He did not like school and had never managed to find work … After a few months we managed to build up a good rapport. He understood that we meant him no harm and that here a young person was respected and listened to. He began to take part with greater enthusiasm and became an organiser of several activities. He also got involved in the kitchen, preparing meals for the entire group. Through the activities and personal interviews he came to understand that it would be good to complete his education. He took the exams he had missed including the final papers. Then, with renewed energy and motivation, he found a job which he liked and which suited his interests.’