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samsam Wise words make new friends Samsam is a program which facilitates a mutual exchange between elderly living in residential care-centres and newcomers in the country through language. The two groups of people are linked to practice the national language. Both in need of a simple talk they can help each other. The meetings are organized within the residential care-centers in which the elderly people live. The focus is to practice conversation skills in the national language in a relaxed café setting. Participants talk together in small groups in which an elderly person guides the conversation. The patience and time of the enthusiastic team of volunteers is much appreciated and the elderly love to guide their new friends through the language. To spread the value the meetings have , I created all the communication around the program. Which are an online platform to which residential care-centres can sign up and can start a samsam language café themselves. They will be guided through the necessary steps and be handed over all the tools to start and to sustain the language café. The tools consist of a range of conversation starters integrated in the objects that are normally around in café’s, like cups, napkins and a theme-based menu. These will give subtle handles to start conversation without imposing. The barista of the language café will know all the guests, welcome them and knows who to put together for an interesting conversation. Through the platform, organisations that are in contact with newcomers will be able to locate a samsam language café within their neighbourhood and guide their language students to a safe and comfortable place to practice their conversation skills. vistit the facebookpage of this project
a little preview of the webstite
The website will guide a care-home step by step towards a language café. On the webpage you can download all the material which is needed to start. The website should also give a stage to every new samsam location that is opened up. It is also a place to discover stories of the different language cafe's and to get to know the volunteers. It is also a linking tool on which several organisations can find each other and will be able to connect. The webpage is in progress and will be online soon
get to know the volunteers
find locations
download and print material
but the most important are the meetings and the new friendships
how it all started This project took 1 year of research and trial and fail. Read more about my way to this outcome How I took on this research is typical me.
When I entered an elderly care home I saw this note on a notice board. Between the notes asking people to fix the light or to join to the doctor, one note caught my attention It was saying; "Who would like to play a game of scrabble with me?" - Tineke kooreman So I called the phone number and said I wanted to play a game. The voice on the other side reacted enthusiastically and we made an appointment.
So there I was for two months playing games with Tineke Kooreman. A 83 year old lady that lives in Vitalis Care-center Eindhoven. She lived there for three years now and admitted it was quite lonely. She did not really connect with the other inhabitants "because they can only complain about things." She spend her time with watching TV, playing scrabble on her I-pad and doing crosswords in the newspapers. Saturdays, the days her son passes by, were the light of the week for her. TIneke would like to meet more people but due to her immobility she cannot go out and meet people herself. She doesn't bother to go to the activities organised in the care-home itself. According to Tineke they are meaningless and useless. I am not going to spend a whole evening crossing numbers while listening to Dutch music. And I completely understood that. If felt compassion for the situation this woman was in. I would hate it if I just had to wait for nothing.
take a picture of ... To get even more insights into what it is like to live in an elderly home. What people are busy with at an elderly age and to find an activity for Tineke I decided to let her carry out my research. I gave her a disposable camera and a list of topics of which she had to take pictures. Se took on the assignment with great enthusiasm!
from the top to the bottom, A picture of - someone important, the first person you say hello to, something you are proud of, something you do during the day, the first thing you do when you wake up and a boring moment
"with you I feel like I have a purpose" Tineke
Volunteers wanted I started to wonder how can I replace this purpose? How can something give purpose and meaning to an elderly person living an elderly home within their capabilities? And as if it was meant to be, a letter fell into my mailbox with the request if anyone would like to volunteer as a language buddy to practice conversation skills. I thought; well let's give it a try. I visited a language course and dragged some of the participants to the elderly home to play a game. It went so well that more and more people got involved up until the official start of the SamSam language cafe.
and so it started. vistit the facebookpage of this project
 
nominated for This is bouw
nominated for the Rene Smeets awerd
to see on DDW 2018