On May 8, 2012, the official opening of the Libya Youth Center in Tripoli, Libya took place. The psycho-social center was initiated by OMV to offer the prospect of a more carefree future to children and adolescents who have suffered from acts of war and their consequences in Libya.
The primary goal of the center is to enable young people to work through their experiences with professional support.
To implement the center, OMV works with the Hilfswerk Austria International, a relief organisation with many years of experience and extensive knowledge in the field of development co-operation. The co-operation agreement was signed in October 2011 for a period of two years with a total budget of EUR 2.1 mn. OMV and Hilfswerk Austria International worked closely with the National Transitional Council and local stakeholders during the project planning and implementation phase, and, after 24 months, the centre will be handed over to the Libyan authorities, who will continue to run it.
Speaking about the Libya Youth Center, OMV CEO, Gerhard Roiss, said: "True partners prove themselves during times of crisis. We have a responsibility towards the citizens of Libya as well as to our local staff. Just as we continued to pay our local employees during times of unrest even though production was halted, we are now helping the younger generation to overcome their fears and carry the hope of a better future."
Since spring 2012, the psycho-social center has acted as a drop-in centre for distressed children and adolescents between the ages of six and 25. Both international and Libyan experts are working at the center to provide the bestpossible support and therapy to all visitors. In addition, psycho-therapeutic counselling and support, leisure and outdoor activities and educational programs (language courses, IT courses, etc) are provided, with a particular emphasis placed on the inclusion of parents and families.
Moreover, mobile teams carry out educational work in schools, hospitals and local community centres to help those affected overcome any inhibitions and fears. It is through the co-operation with schools and public institutions that we are able to carry out this additional support work outside the centre.
As there are only a few centres of this kind in Tripoli, the need for psychosocial support is particularly high. 260 children and adolescents are currently being given counselling and support and to increase this number further, training and education will be offered to local volunteers who are active in the social sector. The goal is to
give support to around 1,200 children and adolescents in the next two years.
According to official estimates, the violent struggle has resulted in some 30,000 deaths with tens of thousands wounded. Around 170,000 children and young people in Tripoli and Benghazi have been badly traumatized.