Small Projects Connected

Small Projects Connected

MacedoniaMacedonia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We are a grass-root NGO using each chance to help the people in our community with ideas to make it happen in an environment where it is not the practice.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Students in elementary school nurturing empathy towards their fellow students who are going through poverty, divorce of their parents, death in the family, material need, need for help in school. In this environment, children are not encouraged to step up and meet closely their fellow students, on the contrary: their parents most often want their kids to "stay away" from every situation or contact with another of their peers that is in more vulnerable situation (especially Roma, poor children od children with disabilities) because that would bring the parent themselves some more responsibility to spend more time with their kids and explain to them why some people are worse off. Also, vulnerable kids desire to be called by their name,get personal invitation to events,get specific role.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Inspire both parents and pupils not to fortify the boundaries around their comfort zone (which most of the times is not comfortable at all) but be willing to engage more with their children, teach them that empathy and offering sincere friendship with other pupils no matter what that pupil or his/her family is going through. Volunteers from "Refleksija"(under/graduates) will together with the schools and professors work one month on locating the needs and the kids that are more vulnerable and create "special compounds" within the classes of different interests: sport, art, choir, crafts, social work. Volunteer from Refleksija will observe the kids in class and negotiate with them and the professors their small teams and ideas.In the same time, Refleksija and the professors will organize meetings with the parents to discuss the importance of encouraging the kids to get devote time in this activities.Finally,all will work on specific "small projects", exhibitions etc.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We will include 2 elementary schools from Strumica (the city) and 3 schools from different villages around (there are 72 villages around Strumica). These villages are from different parts of the Strumica area, so they will serve as a good comparative case for developing the project furthermore, after having a certain experience (because all these villages even though similar, have different primary agricultural focus, landscape, etc). These villages are: Monospitovo, Vasilevo, Veljusa (where also Roma kids are going). It is important to include Veljusa since Roma kids rarely integrate with others. 1. Volunteers from Refleksija and professors work together for a month to form the ideas, locate the needs, and some of the pupils that are in more vulnerable position 2. Negotiate with the parents on the importance of encouraging the kids to participate in the projects, contact their fellow students, possibly invite them to their place (for lunch, working on the project) 3. In class attendance of "Refleksija" volunteers helping with the forming of small teams. 4. Refleksija volunteer monitor, participates and evaluates the process constantly while working with the professor and the kids on a weekly basis (2 hours per week + hours outside school need for preparing materials for the common small projects) 5. Refleksija volunteer- an available contact for the kids and the parents to hel them with logistics for their small projects 6. Finalization of the small projects and presentation of those in other schools (kids themselves present them) 7. Awards,certificates (for all).
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The competitors might me the schools themselves because they are not always most open for innovative ideas since it takes some more responsibly. However, if the directors of the schools are presented clearly with the idea, and realize that their effort is partial and that most of their tasks will be mediation:furthermore, that the success of these activities, may inspire them to take the chance and involve in such a meaningful action. Not to mention that the ideal itself, EMPATHY is not very present in our society (it is mostly present within the family, since it is a society where shame of the others know what is going on to you is not appropriate). But through inclusive activities,the scope of empathy will broaden. The municipal governments will need to approve this work (not a problem).
About You
Organization:
Refleksija
About You
First Name

Olimpija

Last Name

Hristova

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Refleksija

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education

Student.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Innovation
How long has your solution been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Encourage profound,meaningful friendly contact with vulnerable kids who have no self-confidence because of family problems,poverty etc.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Elementary school pupils' engagement in common small projects: increase contact with vulnerable kids on a friendship and creative basis.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

In the Macedonian environment group work among children in schools a lot of times is conducted without giving a lot of thought how this could not only bring about the final result of the group work of the children, but how it actually forms the opinions and the behavior of the young people at a very early stage. In a society where empathy (if present) is within the families, because it is still a society where shame plays a crucial role; this leads to disintegration of the kids at a very early stage and leading them to think that social engagement and responsibility does not play an important role. The mantra that one should mind their own business and not get in trouble with someone else's problems has long term consequences of having disengaged youth and students.Group work is a very fertile soil for engaging young pupils in meaningful communication,therefore we as students would love to engage with it and facilitate where windows of opportunities are wide open,but not used so far.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

One year for implementation of the project in the chosen schools. Further presentation of the pupils themselves in other schools will hopefully inspire other kids, but more over other schools and professors to further cooperate with Refleksija and engage with similar activities. The pupils (from 2nd to 4th grade) in 2 or 3 years after finishing the project will still have the contacts with Refleksija that will help them further with their ideas that they would like to organize or implement. We also hope that the small projects with thematic focus on social work will build some volunteer initiatives on a regular basis. Finally, in the background we have empathy reinforced primarily in the sense that social vulnerability is not an obstacle for meaningful friendships.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The barriers are the will of the parents and professors to engage with something that will definitely take some of their energy and focus,or parents of vulnerable children who usually do not want to engage in change(because of shame or lesser self-esteem perception). But since it will be facilitated through schools,these obstacles may be surpassed because of the structural approach to the subject matter and the involvement of students that have profound experience in team building,experience sharing and coping up with negotiating ideas and convincing others that it is worthy to try.Moreover, in in the background we have the support from the local-governments by offering us opportunities to promote the "small projects",all will be much more willing to get involved.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Network analysis and questionares: Strengthen relationships between pupils (especially vulnerable ones), parents,professors

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Engage professors and Refleksija volunteers in initiating the ideas

Task 2

Create small teams working on small projects in elementary schools

Task 3

Increase contant and cooperation between pupils

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Presentation of small projects and common satisfaction of all involved

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Work on small projects

Task 2

Final products of small projects

Task 3

Pupils willingness to share what they are working on

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

Growing up as a child that changes many places of living, with pretty low income family but full of imagination and dreams, I always needed someone to ask me about my ideas, to call me, to ask me what do you think, what shall we do? I felt greatest happiness when in 4th grade besides my status, there was a girl in my first day of school out of nowhere simply understood my discomfort with being new and being quite poor, and she became my friend just by asking me to walk around the court of my new school. She is my friend ever since. The mere fact that she would call me,ask me to go out with the friends she's been hanging out much longer had great impact on me feeling more confident to share my ideas because I realized:My ideas,childish desires and imaginations should not stop just because I do not speak perfectly the dialect of my fellow students,because only my mom has a scarce salary or i had no new clothes.I could have my ideas shared besides that..many many kids need this nowadays

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

We have partnership with Balkan Institute for Faith and Culture, Exodus (Student Christian Organization), "Press-Ing" small local architecture and engineering firm, "Kolid" company- food prodction company (Macedonia), High School "Jane Sandanski" Strumica, Municipality of Strumica (offered us a building with space we can use for free), "Sokratovci" - Student and professor organization (intelectual help), Local Web Portan "Radio Strumica".

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Student graduates: volunteers
High School students
University professors (Law Faculty (Gordana Siljanovska), Biljana Vankovska- Faculty of Philosophy Skopje
High School Professor: Nevenka Stojanovska
Major of Strumica: Zoran Zaev
NGO Support Center -Strumica (stuff)
BIFC (Balkan Institute for Faith and Culture) Dr. Kostake Milkov, Mr. Nada Milkova

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Institutional Help from local schools