SUPPORTING INTERGENERATIONAL LEARNING IN SMALL COMMUNITIES
Association for Cultural, Economic, Heuristic and Linguistic Cooperation (AKSELS) works mainly in the small villages in the country and pays special attention to preservation and strengthening of intergenerational links, cultural traditions, raising environmental awareness and promoting lifelong learning.
We understand Intergeneration Learning (IgL) as a process of bringing together people of different ages and generations so they can exchange knowledge, skills and experience and learn together and from each other.
It is not necessarily that older people teach younger ones. Nowadays this process goes the other way round as well where young people use methods of informal education to teach and help elderly to catch up with the modern technologies and fast pace of life and/or find joint solutions to contemporary problems in the local communities. In this way the people involved develop reciprocal learning relationships, gain mutual trust, and thus benefit from the whole process. Because when different generations come together, everybody wins.
Most villages in the countryside have an aging population as young people migrate to the big cities to seek better jobs and living and eventually, they settle down there. Their children grow up separated from their grandparents or they rarely visit them and thus there is a growing gap between the different generations in the family. That fosters negative stereotypes in the different groups towards the other ones and creates conditions for social break up and isolation.
Here comes the role of the Intergenerational Learning as a precondition for bringing both groups together and breaking down barriers between ages and stereotypes by one age group toward another to promote understanding, respect and trust whilst sharing ideas, skills, knowledge and experience, and thus strengthening families and local communities.