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Solidarity across borders: The view from Slovenia

18 Nov 2011

I first became aware of the Age Demands Action (ADA) campaign in 2010 when I got in touch with Slovenska Filanthropija (Slovene Philanthropy), the organisation that coordinates the campaign in Slovenia.

I will quote a saying I recently came across: “If you wish for someone to explain something to you, ask a man. If you want something to be accomplished, ask a woman”.

Perhaps this is true, as most of the activists promoting the rights of older people in developing countries seem to be women. Judging by the video messages from other Linking Lives activists, the situation seems to be the same elsewhere.

Linking Lives with Josephine

We all have to find new solutions to ensure decent living standards for all older people and we need to be innovative, brave, decisive and persistent!

It takes a good measure of experience and wisdom, to be able to help others in an active, appropriate and timely manner. Through the Linking Lives campaign I have been speaking to the courageous Josephine in Kenya who leads by example.

One has to be aware of the situation of their peers not just in their own environment, but also worldwide. We try to address the needs of people in our local environment which may sometimes differ from the needs of people elsewhere. Still, being given advice is not what older people need either in Slovenia or in Kenya. We possess the knowledge and the experience.

I agree with Char Tosi, founder of the international non-profit organisation Woman Within who claims that women everywhere carry the same wounds, worries and pains and fight same battles. Of course, there are cultural and generational differences, but once we get to the essence of it, we are all the same.

When people suffer we should reach out, connect and take measures to support each other. By whichever means we have at our disposal. Age Demands Action is one way that we can do this. 

Raising awareness

230 people from 170 organisations attended an ADA meeting in IzolaAt the beginning of September I met with other activists in the town of Murska Sobota where we discussed our hopes for this year's campaign.

One month later, I travelled to Izola where I was able to tell an audience of 230 people why I believe solidarity with older people in other countries is so important. There were representatives from 178 Slovenian organisations and I hope they share this message with the people they work with.

Intergenerational solidarity

Students collect petition signatures at teh Festival of the Third Age in LjublijanaHere, we are making great efforts to re-establish the value and respect for older people in our society. As EU citizens we have the opportunity and therefore the obligation to help our peers in developing countries to do the same!

Here in Slovenia, older people are often counted on to support younger generations especially when the economy is suffering as it is now. One other gift given freely by older people is their wisdom, something which younger people often fail to see. It is for this reason that I was so glad to see that younger students were are also involved in the campaign.

I understand that students were collecting signatures for the Linking Lives petition at the Festival of the Third Age Period in Ljubljana as part of this year's campaign.

Get involved and sign the Linking Lives petition.

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Author profile

Jasna Toplak
Country: Slovenia
Job title: ADA and Linking Lives activist

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.