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Make it Ageless in Slovenia

20 Jul 2012

Students at a Make it Ageless event in SloveniaThe Make it Ageless campaign to ensure older people in the developing world are better included in the European Union's (EU) policy and programmes is well on its way to success!

We are happy to report that the hard work and efforts invested into the preparations and launch of the campaign are already paying off!

My Week of Getting Old

One of the central events of the Make it Ageless campaign in Slovenia was the Week of Getting Old, during which our young champion, Špela, spent a week with an older person, Veronika.

It turned out to be a perfect pairing! Špela is a student at the Faculty for Social Work in Ljubljana and has helped us with a number of HelpAge network’s Age Demands Action (ADA) activities. Veronika is also extremely active in her community, a long time volunteer with the local Pensioners’ Association and an ADA activist.

Veronika taught Špela about staying active and contributing to the community as an older person during their week together. Špela also brought lots of energy and enthusiasm to her week with Veronika. You can read more about Špela’s experience in her My Week of Getting Old blog.

The media launch

26 April was our D-day: The official Make it Ageless launch! Špela and Veronika’s blog and stories, as well as key findings about younger people’s interest in older people in the developing world were all sent to the media. The initial response was very encouraging, as several traditional and online media outlets picked up the story, including the Slovene News Agency.

However, our biggest media achievement so far has been an article published in “Nedeljski dnevnik”, Slovenia’s most popular weekly magazine! The article talked about Špela as well as the Make it Ageless champion in Kenya, Cornel. It also addressed why and how the EU should support older people in developing countries. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Make it Ageless is really about engaging young people and bringing generations together, so we approached youth organisations, youth workers and universities about the campaign. The Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana and the online team of the “Maribor – European capital of culture 2012” event got involved by promoting Make it Ageless via their social media channels.

Make it Ageless student events get creative

The Faculty for Social Work in Ljubljana and its students helped us to organise a day-long Make it Ageless awareness raising event. Around 300 students found about about the campaign and more than 100 joined the virtual march by signing the petition! Those who posted about the campaign on their Facebook wall or tweeted about it also received a shiny new MIA T-shirt - they were all gone in a split second!

The group of students in charge of organising the event came up with a brilliant idea to use a smart phone application which “aged” students to 2050. The idea was great to get people interested in global population ageing and what their life would be like in 2050. It wasn't long before the photographer had a queue of people waiting!

The students also created a Facebook event page. They posted videos of Kenyan ADA activists, information about the campaign and live updates of the activities going on.

Another group of students filmed interviews with older people in their community and made three short videos on the issues older people face. The videos will be screened on 1 October at the Festival of the Third Age in Ljubljana.

Champions and decision makers

Trkaj, a young rapper and columnist, who is popular with young people in Slovenia, has also become involved with Make it Ageless, becoming an official campaign champion! He has agreed to write a column about Make it Ageless in a very popular weekly magazine.

Many Slovenian decision makers have also publicly expressed their support for the campaign. Six of eight Slovenian MEPs and Karl Erjavec, the Minister of Foreign Affairs are behind the campaign.

We hope that the support expressed by politicians, young people and popular figures will generate enough pressure on the EU to change their development policies to better include older people.

How you can Make it Ageless

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Uros Krasnik
Country: Slovenia
 

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