Working towards digital education and inclusion behind the scenes of the People Behind organization
The e-Protect project partners, during the Joint Staff Training in Athens, Greece, had the opportunity for a study visit to People Behind! People Behind is a Greek non-profit organization with one simple and impactful aim: to keep people aged 65 and above active!
Genesis of the organization
The organization was founded in 2017 by Maria Asteriou and Maria Iliopoulou. Both had been affected by their personal experiences: the older members of their families found themselves idle once they retired, with few opportunities for socialization or participation in activities. This is how they came up with the idea of People Behind, whose motto “A world where no one is left behind” very well sums up the objective of the organization: to work towards a society inclusive for all ages, following the EU directions goals for Healthy and Active Aging.
To achieve this objective, they design and implement programs on different methods such as life-long learning, intergenerational solidarity, digital education & inclusion, and active participation in civil society. One of their ongoing projects is the University for Third Age.
The University for Third Age
The idea for the creation of the 1st University for Third Age in Greece arose after research and exchange of best practices with the Universities for Third Age of Cyprus, London and Malaga. Started in Athens in late 2019, this project offers seniors 65+ a variety of workshops and activities. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the founders adapted and created an e-learning platform, where the beneficiaries can follow weekly courses, do their homework, express ideas and build relationships. For a small fee, seniors can attend classes in a variety of subjects such as European History, Greek Philosophy, Ancient Tragedy but also ICT and Drama. To facilitate the courses, the organization hires external educators. Their main criteria in choosing them: their interest in teaching older adults.
Despite the quality and variety of classes offered, Maria explained that the social aspect overcomes the learning outcome for seniors. To offer participants a full academic experience, the team even organizes graduations, to recognize the students’ efforts.
Needless to say, it was a very fruitful exchange for all participants of the study visit. Everyone was very inspired by the missions and values of People Behind and have drawn valuable lessons that we will be sure to bring to the e-Protect project!
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