Making rural youth visible
A project to give a voice to rural youth, to hear and publish their stories and to make them visible in society and its decision-making process.
Social exclusion is one of the biggest problems facing young people in Finland, both in urban and rural environments. Rural areas have specific challenges, such as long distances to travel, low population density, few young people and rare public youth centres. The project wanted to give a voice to the rural youth, to publish their stories and make them visible in society and its decision-making process. Through storytelling the project made new preventive and low threshold forms of youth work better known.
The project publication, On the Open Sea, is available both in printed and electronic forms. It comprises stories that deal with how to meet other people, school life, jobs, hobbies and other daily routines. They also address discovering a sense of place and belonging, depression. social exclusion and bullying, among other issues.
The project has raised discussion on whether in the digital era young people are adequately heard. Do we know how they are doing? They don’t seem to care much if they live in a small rural place or a big city – more important for them are the availability of good, safe social networks and the opportunity to find their way in life.
The most severe cases of socially excluded young people have been selected from cases of preventive youth work services at the home. The most rewarding stories in the publication tell how such persons have started feeling better only after a few weeks help from youth work services.