Gamingkontakten was founded in 2018 by three social workers who are avid gamers themselves and therefore saw an opportunity to bring their experiences and knowledge of both fields together to make a real positive impact.
Gamingkontakten uses gaming as an arena for social therapy with youths aged 11 to 23, who don't have the opportunity to attend other recreational arenas, such as football, skiing, climbing etc. The youths often have high levels of absence from school and multi-layered problems regarding social withdrawal and societal exclusion.
By Gamingkontakten using the gaming arena, it means that the youths are already present and feel comfortable. This safe space offers excellent possibilities, firstly, to come into contact with youths that are typically hard to reach. Secondly, it means they can build meaningful relationships and provide the social support that all youths benefit from - and is essential in developing good social skills and mental health.
Gamingkontakten are the first to systematically use the digital gaming space to interact and build meaningful relationships with young gamers. Their strength-based approach is also unique when interacting with this group as gaming is often branded by society and adults as being negative.
The other part of their solution is directed at the professional caregivers and students who attend social studies to work with children. Gamingkontakten believe that increased knowledge about gaming and young gamers will decrease young gamers' exclusion and stigma. In 2019, their first year of operation, Gamingkontakten held over 20 lectures to over 900 professional caregivers about gaming benefits and the possibilities that lie in this recreational activity. They also teach students of Child welfare pedagogy at OsloMet in "gaming and social work".
Their goal is to make Gamingkontakten a natural and integral part of the services that the public sector can provide for its most vulnerable youth, and they see it as their purpose to show how and why so that this change can happen. Gamingkontakten believe that helping vulnerable or troubled youth must be seen as a collaboration between all the adults surrounding the youths and encourages gaming as a communication tool.
Wilstar supports key parts of CARE Norway´s comprehensive Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Programme (GEWEP) in Rwanda, with an emphasis on providing opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship through training and financial inclusion. The project runs over a four-year period and started in 2015.