News from Martinique: Medal for the secretary of “La rue de chez moi”
On 15 March, Claude Fitte-Duval, a specialist youth worker and socio-urban engineer, was awarded the health and social affairs medal by the Minister for Urban Affairs, François Lamy.
Claude is currently the secretary of « La rue de chez moi », a member organisation of Dynamo International. He is also in charge of PAAL/OMASS, a structure which receives and provides support to people in street situations, people with drug problems and to their families.
This medal recognises Claude’s commitment to socialwork, which, according to the State representative, spans over twenty years.
When he was awarded the medal, Claude explained the motivation behind his commitment: “I accept this medal like Combat, the journal Albert Camus would hold out tome. In a few brief words, I would like to share with you two or three virtues of commitment: not noticing the time passing, and the joy of sharing with you in building a better world. Thank you everybody.”
Dynamo International – Street Workers Network European Pilot Group meeting, Thessaloniki, 24 – 29 March 2013
The European coordinators of Dynamo International-Street Workers Network met in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 24 to 29 March 2013.
Members from Belgium, Albania, Slovakia, Portugal, France, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Martinique, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Romania, Holland and United Kingdom discussed their project activities as part of the EU’s Progress Program.
Our Greek partner, ARSIS, which did a marvellous job of managing logistics, organised grassroots visits which enabled the social workers to gain a better understanding of the local situation.
As part of the meeting, a conference on "Solidarity and Social Support through street work" was organised by ARSIS and Dynamo International –Street Workers Network on 27 March 2013. The speakers included political decision-makers as well as representatives of local Greek authorities. The 140 participants at the conference had the opportunity to find out more about street work in other European countries through an interactive discussion with members of the Network.
Seminar on“Participatory Organisational Diagnosis”, Lisbon, 8 – 12 April 2013
The seminar on “Participatory Organisational Diagnosis”, with support from the PROGRESS program, was held in Lisbon during the week of 8 April.
Twelve participants from Greece, Albania, Italy, Czech Republic, Nepal, DRC, Bolivia, Portugal, Belgium and Poland met in Portugal to continue the work begun by Mourad Ghanem in 2012.
The objective was to gain a better understanding of how national platforms work and thus help to strengthen the International Network of Street Workers. The challenge: each was to analyse their onion (= their platform)… work hard, and this often led to laughter and tears (the onion effect). The photos serve as illustration.
Send us your contributions on community-based action in street work!
As planned, in 2013 we are publishing a document on community-based action. This is a particularly rich, diverse and complex topic. In order to assess this diversity and depth of experience, I would like to invite you to take part in gathering information by way of a questionnaire.
The “Questionnaire for the Network’s Street Workers” will help us to collect as many specific examples and useful grassroots information as possible.
It is important to distribute it widely and to use it to organize sharing of practices with other Street workers.
In order to guarantee diversity and respect for specific regional characteristics, all this information will be analysed by continent.
Each analysis will therefore lead to a separate chapter on community-based action in each of the four continents. Your examples can then be gathered together in the final documents.
You have until 30 June to send in your answers and other documents, which will give the drafters the time to write, translate and publish before the end of the year.
Results of the Belgian project“Sharing knowledge and practice with European street workers working in the area of male prostitution”
2012 saw the development of a project proposed by the Belgian not-for-profit association, ALIAS, (member of the “Traces de rue” association), which works with male sex workers on the streets of Brussels.
Members of the Alias team, along with representatives of two other Belgian associations (Boys Project and Icar), met with associations in Germany, France and Bulgarian order to share experiences and practices in working with male prostitutes, who often keep a lower profile than women working in this field.
The discussions highlighted, in particular, the challenge represented by the Internet for street workers wishing to enter into contact (or maintain it) with people earning money by offering sexual services. The truth is that in the neighbourhoods of some towns, street prostitution has dropped significantly because people prefer to use the Internet as it is safer and subject to fewer repressive controls. A road map of these discussions has been drawn up, pooling together the activities of the associations visited, the local context to prostitution and legislation in force.
In addition, this document includes a report put together with the participation of associations from eight European countries (Belgium, United Kingdom, Romania, Austria, France, Bulgaria, Poland, and Germany). The compilation of these results helped to determine the characteristics of sex workers, the way this population moves from one town to another or even from one country to another, the more or less strict legislation on the activity and those who practise it, police controls which have direct impact on the visibility of prostitution, and the presence of street workers online to establish contact with sex workers who can no longer be found on the street.
These two documents will soon be published on the Network’s website in several languages.
“Call for contributions: Street workers, tell us your story …”
Street work is by no means a walk in the park: on the ground, striving to support vulnerable populations, to help them in their efforts, organizing activities to try to forge and consolidate bonds of trust, street workers are constantly trying to be creative and innovative.
However, they are constantly calling themselves into question, thinking about what they see on the street, and how they, themselves, feel about their job. In addition, in some countries, their work makes them vulnerable to threats, or frequent violence which leads them to feel isolated; this is only reinforced by the lack of recognition given to their work. In short, it is no fairy tale!
This is why, alongside the various methodological tools that the Network has published these past few years to strengthen the skills of grassroots workers, we felt the need to collect personal accounts from street workers on how they perceive their job, their relationship with others, the effects of the crisis which impacts them personally because street workers, like the people they are trying to help, also face poverty. These personal accounts can come in any form.
Do you want to tell us an anecdote about a specific situation you have experienced that had a positive or negative effect? Don’t think twice about it! Would you prefer to tell us about a typical working day demonstrating the outreach aspect of street work? Go for it!
Please click here to tell us your story.
On last 22 March, the Bulgarian association “Alliance for children and youth” organised the conference “A way to knowledge and positive change” in the National Child Protection Agency in Sofia.
The results of the project “Comprehensive model for social work with children and families at risk” (2010 – 2013) were presented.
Aim of the project was prevention of early school-leaving and homelessness or institutionalisation, through development and provision of integrated services in the community and enhancement of parental capacity of families with children at risk. The project reached 102 children and 50 families. 75 children were enrolled in school or kinder garden, 99 children were registered to a GP doctor.
The event provided an opportunity for experts and professionals in different fields to share their ideas and proposals for a more efficient and sustainable interaction in supporting children and families from vulnerable groups. Participants included representatives from the Sofia municipality ( educational and health departments); Regional Education Inspectorate, Ministry of Health, Child Protection Agency’s experts; Sofia University, Crisis Center for children victims of violence, school and social NGOs.
Bulgarian member of Dynamo International-Street Workers Network