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Aiming to support initiatives that promote the integration of socially vulnerable groups and their equal participation in social life, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation supported the implementation of a series of workshops offered by the “University of the Third Age” of the People Behind NPO. The organisation’s mission is to mobilise individuals aged 65+ through lifelong learning, digital education, intergenerational contact, and participation in the community, based on the guidelines of the European Union for the promotion of Healthy and Active Ageing. The “University of the Third Age” is an empowerment programme for individuals over the age of 65, which, through a special platform, offers a variety of workshops allowing participants to gain knowledge, share thoughts and experiences, exercise their bodies and minds, socialise, and ultimately improve their quality of life. With the support of the Foundation, workshops were implemented in four thematic areas, namely Digital Empowerment, Physical Exercise, Counseling, and Philosophy. In the framework of theses workshops, participants were introduced to computer use, the digital environment of social media, online banking, and digital services provided by the government, and discussed internet safety and online shopping. Additionally, they improved their well-being and physical condition through exercises focusing on balance, strength, flexibility, and breathing techniques; furthermore, through the sharing of experiences, they trained in anxiety management, anger management, grief management, and interpersonal communication. Lastly, they studied the evolution of human thought throughout the centuries, enhancing their personal and collective self-awareness.
“As a child of the civil war times, I grew up in prison with my mother and entered society with negative feelings towards people. Through my travels to many parts of the world, I met disadvantaged children and read about millions of children living permanently in war-torn areas, which helped me create a happy family. During these months, with the lessons and exercises offered by the facilitators, I delved into myself without fear, in a quest to identify my negative emotions (e.g. anger), and I realised that they are insignificant, almost non-existent. I can talk to my grandchildren about my life without feeling pain as if I read it in a book. I owe this to the collaborators of People Behind.”
“The University of the Third Age is not only for those aged 65+, but also for those of us who make it happen every day, coming into contact with people who are hungry for knowledge and socialisation; people who often don’t have many outlets for activity, who live in an empty house alone and seek companionship through our workshops. For the whole People Behind team, this is the biggest gain: every time, in every workshop, to see yet another lonely person finding a reason to smile.”
Co-Founder & Project Manager, People Behind NPO