October 1st has been dedicated by the United Nations as the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP). This year, the UN is mobilizing to include older persons, in accordance with the guiding principle set forth by their Secretary General: “Don’t leave anyone behind”.
For several years, Alliance VITA has been reaffirming this commitment. For example by conducting the “Messages for Life” campaign, in the summer of 2015, they went out to meet older people who are often more isolated during the summer months. Volunteers helped collect information on older persons’ life experience, to be shared with younger generations. For the past two years, the VITA Youth teams have expanded the program to visit the elderly throughout the year. At the beaches during the summer, they also raise visibility among the vacationers, by acting as public ambassadors to promote solidarity between generations.
This valuable experience was shared in Strasbourg last June, at the European Youth Event “EYE”, organized by the European Parliament. A delegation from VITA Youth organized a workshop to reflect on the role of digital interaction to bridge the generational gap instead of widening it. More recently on September 22, in Brussels, VITA International participated in the JUBEL Festival, an exchange forum on European challenges. In partnership with the European Institute of Bioethics, Alliance VITA led discussions on the challenge of aging, while providing an opportunity for the VITA Youth to speak about their fight against exclusion and loneliness in old age.