Portraits of Respect: Advocacy Campaign on Respect for the Dignity of Elders among Young People

Call for proposals: Micro or “rapid response” projects
Priority area: Increased support for civic education and human rights
Project duration: 15 November 2023 –30 April 2024
Project value: EUR 4,996.40

In September 2023, the public was shaken by news about physical violence against elders in the home for the elderly in Trebnje, which was carried out by an underage student who worked there as a caregiver during the holidays. Yet, this is not an isolated case. The public is also witnessing other news about physical, psychological, emotional and sexual violence against the elderly, as well as about physical and material neglect of the elderly.

This project allows us to respond to the situation with an awareness campaign, with which Sopotniki (which translates as Companions) wants to take a step forward toward restoring the dignity of elderly people. We want to inspire young people to empathize with the elderly and make them realize that they too will someday be elders. The campaign will aim to inspire young people with stories of the elderly that instill respect for this period of life and paint a positive, realistic picture of old age, which is that the elderly are a valuable part of the community – they possess more wisdom about life and have more experience than any other generation.

The project will involve elders who have impressed us with their positive attitude to life. We will invite them to pose for the cameras of students at the Sežana Technical College. The students studying photography and two supervisors will get to know the elderly through a structured interview, take twenty portrait photos in the field and set up an exhibition entitled Portraits of Respect. The latter will be set up on school premises.

We will invite young people – high school and university students – and the general public to the exhibition. There will be a guided tour of the exhibition, giving authors of the photographs a chance to present their works of art through stories about the relationships they have established with the photographed people. At the beginning and at the end of the project, we will conduct a survey among the young visitors of the exhibition, giving us the opportunity to learn about the needs of the elderly and about the issue of discrimination against the elderly.

The visitors of the exhibition will receive a mobile application that makes them look old in their selfies, which they will be able to share on social media. The portraits will also be included in a virtual exhibition, which we will share on our own communication channels.

With the project, young people will get to know the elderly generation and their life experiences, the elderly will have the opportunity to indulge in activities that empower them, and the general public will gain a new, positive insight into old age.

Contact person: Janja Smrkolj

Project promoter: Sopotniki, Organization for Intergenerational Solidarity

Partner: Srečko Kosovel School Centre in Sežana, Sežana Technical College