Illustrations of Social Exclusion: Co-designing an Inclusive Library

Co-building a safe learning space with teenagers and local leaders.

The Local Challenge

The Ploes Day Centre is a lending library for teenagers from southern Athens who also benefit from in-house help with mental health. The centre runs weekly labs, as part of the teenagers’ mental well-being, cultural development and social integration. They are supported by the Children’s Open Library, a non-profit association enabling children’s access to books, and have been operating with the teenagers’ participation. Through these working relationships, they are co-designing further support for the local youth and plan to reach out to schools and child protection units to offer their services.   


 The Initiative  

This community has a high percentage of early school leavers who are experiencing psychosocial problems. As a result, they face social exclusion, economic hardship and a lack of access to cultural and educational stimuli. The day centre and library have come together to offer disaffected young people the opportunity to develop social and interpersonal skills and a sense of social belonging through creating a series of open dialogues about the existing typical education process and ways it can be improved. The project partners also plan to create a meeting place, with a community of acceptance at the heart of the space.  


What’s Next?

Local leaders from the world of politics, education and local government will be presented with the young people’s findings addressing the shortcoming they face in the local community, and especially at schools. In order to broaden out the conversation and make it slightly humorous and visually engaging, the initiative is developing a comic book to encourage further conversations and to catalyse local change.  


This is an ongoing Europe Challenge project that will be completed in autumn 2024. Stay tuned for more updates and contact if you have any questions or want to be connected with the team behind the project.

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