About the Development Center
The founding of the Development Center for Empowering the Rights of the Elderly of the City of Zagreb was driven by the results of scientific research on the rights of the elderly in the City of Zagreb. The Foundation did the research in 2012, in collaboration with the Research and Training Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Social Work of the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, with the support of the City Department of Social Welfare and Disability. The goal of the Development Center is to introduce senior citizens to their special rights and procedures to protect these rights, in order to prepare and encourage them to participate actively in the life of the community.
Activities of the Development Center for Empowering the Rights of the Elderly
Activities are held through workshops in a separate area of the Foundation “Zajednički put”, the Senior Center, with the active participation of volunteers. The thematic backbone of the workshops is made up of the activities in which senior citizens question their needs, get informed about their rights, foresee possible obstacles in their achievement and find solutions. Along with an educational and informational dimension, and thanks to the promotion of dialogue among participants, critical thinking and exchange of opinions and ideas, the workshops will also have an interactive and socializing dimension. They will be adapted and developed in accordance with users’ actual needs and interests. The potentials of senior citizens, which are a result of their accumulated professional and life experience, will be used to encourage their more active participation in the life of the local community, which should contribute to the fact that they are seen less as a burden, and more as a resource. The ultimate goal of the activities of the Development Center for Empowering the Rights of the Elderly and the Senior Center is to improve the quality of life of senior citizens in the City of Zagreb.
A series of short workshops is one of the activities of the Development Center which focuses on a more intensive engagement in the topic of human rights. The participants will be introduced to basic concepts of domestic, European and international policy and practice of the protection of human rights of senior citizens through introductory lectures, discussions, simulations, role playing, analyzing texts and video recordings, concrete actions etc. The emphasis is on learning about the special rights which belong to the elderly, the ways in which they can be informed about them, possible violations of those rights, the system of institutions and bodies which protect them and the methods of protection. One of the topics is media approach to the elderly, where the participants will be asked to analyze media contents.
One of the activities is showing documentaries and films (feature and short) which deal with a dimension of human rights.
Participants are encouraged to connect the theme of the film with some concrete example from the field of human rights protection and to discuss about similar events in their environment, potential consequences of the violation of those rights and discrimination, and to seek solutions to those problems. In addition to showing movies, reviews on media reports, advertising and related materials where a certain attitude, stereotypes or prejudice toward the elderly can be seen are also possible.
Given that senior citizens today are quite socially isolated and less respected, through different activities they have an opportunity to discuss current issues that are important to them and that directly or indirectly affect the quality of their lives. The trigger for a debate can be books, newspaper articles, short YouTube movies, legislative changes, new policies or strategies of social development, events important for improving the quality of life, etc. The activities of the Development Center will ensure that senior citizens’ thoughts and ideas are heard.
An additional aspect of this activity is encouraging users to search for information through various sources, including the Internet, where they will gradually become familiar with the possibilities of new information and communication technologies.
A guide through the rights…
The volunteers of the Development Center wrote articles on the issue of human rights which have served as materials for the workshops, but as there is a need for a guide through the rights in order to provide information about the rights, the texts have been brought together in a manual which is in the making.