UngXit is a social entrepreneurship company based in Oslo, Norway. Our aim is to improve living conditions for vulnerable children and youth. We aim to promote active participation among children and youth through process-oriented work. We wish to promote awareness of their own resources and skills, which will strengthen confidence and self-esteem. Many young people feel a lack in self-value, or that they are not good enough. We want to prove the opposite through stimulating commitment of children and youth, and to promote their interests and skills. Here we explain how we intend to do so.
Our target groups Our target group is twofold: firstly, we focus on asylum seekers. Every year thousands of youth and children flee their home countries for various reasons. Many arrive in a receiving country, such as Norway, along with their parents, while minors (minor unaccompanied refugees) have traveled alone. All are seeking protection, which is a human right when one experiences persecution for political reasons or cannot live safely in their home country due to war or conflict. After arriving safely in a receiving country problems arise, because at that time people have time to time to reflect upon their experiences of war, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment. The need for early activation is therefore substantial, and to feel safe in the environment where one reside.
Our second target group is youth who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Many young people have considerable difficulties obtaining work, and for many this is an issue closely related to mental health. We believe that our methods of approach with asylum seekers will also be effective in relation to unemployed youth. The programme for vulnerable youth will include three sessions and a subsequent work experience period, with the aim of obtaining work. In this context, we will work with local authorities for the implementation of the programme.
Motivation + interest = Learning In our work, our theoretical approach is that with personal interests and skills as a starting point, children and youth will have the motivation to participate, to learn, and to grow. The experience of security and belonging is important for all our participants, and we want children and young people we work with feel that they are safe and secure during our activities. Hence, it is essential that we take the time to LISTEN, because many young people have felt (or feel) that they are not being heard. Or they might not have met adults who are interested in who they are. We facilitate participation through social, creative and physical activities that do not require previous experience or talent. However, we believe that all young people have hidden talents, and we wish to discover them.
Building bridges Another integral part of our activities is bonding and building bridges. Between young people, between UngXit staff and participants, and between participants and local communities. We are all human beings, and should take the time to care about others. A term that describes this in Bantu languages in Sub-Saharan Africa is “ubuntu”. Ubuntu refers to community, solidarity and compassion. Briefly, the meaning of the term is “a person becomes human through other people.” If you do not believe it, try to hide away in a forest in a remote region, far, far away from other people, and see how you go. I bet that you will not hold out for longer than a week. Perhaps, if you are the social kind, maybe two days. Because humans flock together, and we depend on having contact with other people to live. To exist. To experience joy and satisfaction. To experience love.
Arts and expression groups In UngXit we plan to carry out artistic and expressive groups using music, image, sound, movement, theater, role-playing, dancing and painting. The purpose of such activities is to facilitate for self-expression, without having to use merely verbal language, but through the use of one’s creativity. People are unique, and for many of us it is easier to express ourselves in writing or non-verbally, for example to write or paint. The capacity for innovation and to use our imagination is an inherent human trait, and the ability to create brings joy and a sense of achievement. Another aspect of this is that during a process of creation, participants are given space from thinking – and just being, in the here and now. It becomes easier to unwind from stress and personal concerns. We also believe that all children and young people must be given the occasional time and space to just have fun and enjoy themselves. Children are children, and they have a fundamental right to be children. Children are also our future, and therefore it is important that we invest time, money and commitment to lift them up.
Collaboration + compassion = Peace.