Danish Bees Give Hope to Refugees

Oliver Maxwell launched the Bybi in 2010. Bybi is a social enterprise and city organization of beekeepers. Maxwell holds regular courses on beekeeping for immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, and people looking for a fresh start in life. Inclusivity is central to Maxwell. He welcomes people from any background to work and volunteer in his organization. According to Maxwell, Bybi is not about making bees; rather, it is about the community’s health where bees, flowers, and people thrive.

Photo retrieved from yesmagazine.org

Bybi has employed marginalized people to plant flowers, place beehives, harvest, and pack honey. It has also brought biodiversity to the Copenhagen area, which now has 150 colonies in 30 locations.

This initiative addressed unemployment faced by marginalized community members, more so for immigrants who are not only new to the community but who may be unwelcomed.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Million Gardens Movement: Plant a Garden For Every Household Living in a Food Desert

The million gardens movement is a charitable and educational initiative that hopes to combat food insecurity and malnutrition. Begun by Kimbal Musk, the movement hopes to accomplish this goal by putting a garden in every household. The little green gardens are ready to use, they come with a customized growing plan and online lessons and activities to support the growth of relevant at-home vegetable and fruit gardens. A donation of ten dollars enables the movement to put these gardens in homes and in classrooms.

Photo retrieved from MillionGardensMovement.org

5,000 gardens have already been distributed. The community is engaged by either donating ten dollars to give a garden to a family, those already gardening sign up to join the movement, or read and contribute to the blog and tell other gardeners about it.

This initiative will provide fresh vegetables and vegies for families living in food deserts. Families will be empowered to grow and tend their fresh food. Besides, families also learn about different spaces within their homes that can house vegetable gardens.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

The Social Supermarket

The Social Supermarket is run by a faith-based organization called the Wellington City Mission. The only difference between regular supermarkets and Social Supermarket is that every item in the latter is free. The idea behind the Social Supermarket is to provide food support to the community while simultaneously giving the people the opportunity to choose the food they like. Those in need of food discuss their situation with the organization, after which they are assigned points that determine the amount of food they can shop for. Individual circumstances, for example, single verses family, determine the points allotted.

Photo retrieved from OptimistDaily.com

The community is provided with food that they like instead of pre-selected food. Also, people learn to work with a budget. This happens as individuals use their allotted points to gauge food items they can afford to buy.

This is an innovation that reduces poverty by providing food assistance in a dignified way while at the same time teaching budgeting skills.

For more information click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Kenyan Woman’s Startup Recycles Plastic Waste into Bricks

The struggle of civil servants in the city of Nairobi to dispose of plastic wastes inspired Nzambi Matee, a young engineer in Kenya. Matee responded to the challenge by starting the Gjenge Makers to transform plastic wastes into durable paving materials. Matee collects polyethylene and polypropylene that local plants cannot process any further and converts them into various paving stones.

Since the company began in 2018, it has recycled nearly 20 metric tons of plastic waste and has created jobs for 110 people.

Photo retrieved from GoodNewsNetwork.org

This innovation did not only address the challenge of disposing of plastic wastes. It created employment, thus reducing poverty for the 110 employees.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Hearing young children on topics of global importance

Webinar with May Lene Karlsen, 27 May 2021, 5 pm (CET). Discussant: Stefania Maggi

About the webinar

Hearing children is of interest to anyone who believes that every voice is important for a society to be whole. It is of interest to those who believe that to neglect, marginalise or systematically overlook a group of people, is to deprive our communities of the qualities that only this particular group can offer. Hearing children is not just a concern for those working directly with and for children, but for all who believes in a society where every voice counts.

The international community, through the United Nations convention for children’s rights, have agreed that every child have a right to be heard and yet we find that few active attempts are being made at engaging and hearing young children on the big issues facing our world today. Why is this?  Do children under the age of 12 have a place in the social discourse on topics such as the pandemic, inequality and racism? Can they contribute to politics and policymaking in meaningful ways? What could systematic attempts at hearing young children on big issues look like? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this webinar, drawing on examples and experiences gained through the Children Heard project.

Children Heard was initiated in March 2020 by a counselling psychologist in the UK and a community psychologist in Norway. Through partnerships with three UNICEF offices in Europe, they gathered the views of 240 children aged 3-12 about their experiences and opinions on the pandemic. The project is currently gathering views on racism through a family-based interview and are experimenting with methods of engaging young children on topics of global importance.

About the presenter

May Lene Karlsen is a counselling and community psychologist. She completed her doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of Surrey in 2010 and have since then worked in services for children and families with a particular interest in pre- and primary school aged children. In addition to clinical work, she has worked as an associated and visiting lecturer at several doctoral programmes in the UK, as clinical lead for a children’s charity in London and now as a community psychologist for a local government in Norway. She is a committee member of the Community Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society and an active member of her own local community in Sandefjord, Norway. She co-founded Children Heard in 2020 with Dr. Gail Sinitsky.


About the discussant

Dr. Maggi is an interdisciplinary scholar whose mixed-methods research bring together developmental sciences, population health approaches, participatory methods, statistical modelling, and arts-based approaches. Her work focuses on individual and collective resilience; positive development and emotional intelligence; social, educational and relational determinants of early career development; impacts of climate change on children and families; and enabling factors promoting individual and collective environmental behaviours and action.  Dr. Maggi is also a science fiction author, an entrepreneur, and child rights advocate. She is cross appointed between the Childhood and Youth Studies program and the Department of Psychology at Carleton University.

Google-backed drones drop library books so kids in Virginia can do their summer reading

Kelly Passek, a librarian at Montgomery County School District in VA, came up with the idea of having drones deliver library books to encourage more kids to read from the safety of their homes. Passek could receive the book orders from the children, find the books from different libraries, package them, and deliver them to the Wing facility for the drones to deliver them.

Photo retrieved from washingtonpost.com

Wing library book delivery was/is available to nearly 600 students within Christiansburg, VA, which makes it possible for the students to get free reading materials.

This innovation kept alive the interest to read by making available the reading materials during the lockdown. It was also hoped that the innovation of drone-delivered books would instill the desire to read in more kids.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu

Avivo opens Avivo Village the nation’s first indoor tiny home community for individuals experiencing homelessness

Avivo Village, an indoor community of 100 secure, private dwellings or “tiny houses” created to provide shelter to individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop Neighborhood on March 8, 2021. Avivo Village was created as a COVID-era means to shelter individuals in a socially distant, dignified way. Residents will have access to Avivo’s unique combination of recovery services, mental health services, and career education and employment services.

In December, a preliminary opening of Avivo Village provided indoor housing for 16 initial residents — many of whom have since found housing while working with Avivo’s housing case managers. As of April 16, nearly 70 residents were housed in Avivo Village’s tiny home community.

Picture retrieved from Freethink

One major inequity in Minnesota’s homeless community is a disproportionate number of Native Americans experiencing homelessness compared to Minnesota’s population as a whole (11% in 2019 of surveyed homeless via hmismn.org compared to 1.4% of MN population via Census.gov in 2019). Avivo Village was created in partnership with the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the state of Minnesota – but also with a strong partnership between Avivo and the White Earth Nation and the Red Lake Nation, to ensure a welcoming community.

Story submitted by Aaron Shaffer, United States of America

More info here or at aaron.shaffer@avivomn.org

How the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to rethink desinstitutionalization in Europe

Webinar with José Ornelas, April 29, 2021

About the webinar

Deinstitutionalization is a theory transformed into a social movement after the II World War, focused on the transition of all individuals who were in institutions to community contexts, contributing to diversity within the social realm. With the emergence of Civic and Human Rights Movements, deinstitutionalization became a priority including people with mental illness, people with disabilities, children, youth, and elders.

Nevertheless, evidence demonstrates that the majority of people were involved in a continuum of services of transinstitutionalization from large scale segregated wards to smaller segregated housing, employment and schooling programs in the community. From the self representation movement, and experiential leadership of consumers/ survivors, emerged a new wave of services and programs (e.g. independent housing, employment and education in regular markets and and schools) still not fully generalized in Europe. 

The pandemic contingency brought awareness on the extension and volume of  institutionalized people, particularly the more recent massive segregation of elders, while the psychiatric wards, and the large group homes for the disabled people, and for children & youth were mostly maintained. In these contexts countless COVID 19 surges emerged, providing a renovated awareness about the urgency of reclaiming deinstitutionalization as a Human Right. We are now prepared with tools for community research and practice to provide a direct response to deinstitutionalization and social integration through housing with the Housing First Model, with employment and education programs through ecological and collaborative integration in the social and community regular contexts.

About the presenter

Prof. Ornelas is a Clinical and Community Psychologist, specialized in community intervention and integration of people in extremely vulnerable situations. Completed his first doctoral degree in the Boston University (USA) – 1979-1984; and a second doctoral degree in the University of Oporto (1999). He completed his aggregation in the University of the Azores (2009). 

From 2016 to 2019 Ornelas was the principal investigator of the Horizon 2020 HOME_EU Reversing Homelessness in Europe, GA/726997, and is currently the coordinator of the EEAGRANTS Project (OC4-B11 | ISPA) PEER NETWORK: Gender Violence and Empowerment. He is the scientific adviser of a community-based program on the promotion of educational achievement in 5 Portuguese national counties, in parallel with teaching and research supervision of Master’s and Doctoral thesis on Psychology.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival‘ in Manchester/UK

A dialogic webinar with Carolyn Kagan, Monday April 12 7PM

The ‘New Bank for Community Ideas and Solutions – NBCIS‘ – a global initiative to support creative community building in times of crises – is proud to present it´s first Dialogical Webinar on Monday, April 12, 7 pm CEST.
The idea of ’NBCIS Dialogical Webinars’ is to be inspired and learn from creative and surprising ideas and solutions for community building in times of crises. we learn directly from authors of stories about their background and ’the making of…’ 

In our first Dialogical Webinar we will focus on “The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival” in Manchester/UK. The Festival is a unique way how to build community adressing and being inspired by the wealth of creativity within a community. Carolyn Kagan, community psychologist and chair of the festival, and Peter Topping, director of the Arts Festival will present their story and will be open for dialogue.
Join us on Monday, April 12 at 7pm CEST by registering at https://www.eventbrite.de/e/the-rise-fall-and-rise-of-the-chorlton-community-arts-festival-tickets-148513691449.

The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival

A New ‘Temple’ for Community – Contemplating in Nature and among Modern Art (Stoa169)

You walk a lovely agricultural Bavarian landscape close by a small river. A bend on the trail opens a new sight, and there you see a hall of art in the middle of nature. On a part of an agricultural meadow near the village of Polling, on the banks of the river Ammer, in the middle of Pfaffenwinkel, an open columned hall is being built: the STOA169. More than 100 artists from all continents were selected to design one column each, which together, as an archive of today’s art, would carry the common roof of the STOA169.

Picture sent by Wolfgang Stark

STOA169 reminds not only on meditative buildings in Indian temples or on the buildings of the ancient Greek philosophy of ‘Stoicism’. It is a modern community building architecture in which people of all ages, background, colors can come together. The open hall and more than 100 columns individually designed by well-known artists represent the state of modern art from all continents. simultaneously it reflects our heritage as human beings, our past, present and future challenges as a planetary community.

Does an open hall for art as part of the nature (no walls, no fees, no rules) create community today? It invites individuals, families, young and old to come together and be inspired – connects people who have never met before. Many discover new perspectives by wandering between the columns: for some it is a place for peace like a temple, for others a ‘bonbonierre’ of surprises. Kids just love to run around, hide between or climb the columns. The majority of visitors leaves with shiny eyes and a smile on their face. That is how you create community.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here at wolfgang.stark@stw.de