Social sustainability in Greenland

“The polar bear’s strength – our strength” is about social sustainability and works on realising UN Sustainability Development Goal No. 8. VIA is forming and researching sustainable solutions that can create a better future.

Picture of people working on a polar bear sculpture.

The eight-metre-high polar bear made of papier mâché represents the strengths the disadvantaged people in Greenland.

“The Polar Bear’s Strength – Our Strength” is based on UN sustainability development goal No. 8: “We are working to create inclusive and sustainable growth. There needs to be good opportunities for entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity; and vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities and young people without an education, need to be ensured better access to the labour market”.

It is easy to stand out in small communities in villages and towns, where the particular challenges are sometimes greater than the strength of the individual. Children and young people are stigmatised by negative living conditions and are often met with a focus on the particular factor that makes the child or young person ‘socially disadvantaged’. Their strengths do not receive the same focus.

“The Polar Bear’s Strength – Our Strength” is to raise awareness of the strengths of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Greenland. Strengths are made visible through cultural events in several different towns in Greenland (later also in Denmark), where the eye-catching, eight-metre-high polar bear of papier mâché is to form a symbolic framework for events focusing on the strengths of the participants.

Through equal collaboration on aesthetic and cultural activities, the project will involve as many participants as possible in creative co-creation processes. It is to create empowerment and make visible those strengths that also exist in the local community. Thereby giving disadvantaged youth, in particular, a mouthpiece to the outside world.

That mouthpiece is to focus on the strengths of young people in vulnerable positions who, by telling their story, get a voice, become visible and have a positive experience.

During the project, new methods and new knowledge are to be developed simultaneously in relation to the pedagogical work with those who are disadvantaged. Those methods and knowledge need to be integrated into the early childhood and preschool educational programmes in Greenland and serve as inspiration for didactic considerations in youth and sector educational programmes, too.

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