We Believe We are all the same
Through this project, we wanted to deepen our experiences and relationships with those who are different from us, who have different values than ours, by virtue of nationality, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, education, etc. A key factor in a “process” of cultural exchange is that it requires us to meet, confront, explore, appreciate, and ultimately respect DIFFERENCE. During such a process of discovery, we inevitably hold a mirror in front of us and learn as much about our own identity and culture as we do about those we encounter, learning to appreciate them as two things that complement each other positively.
By doing so, we manage to achieve our project objective, namely to reduce the level of intolerance and discrimination among young people, folowing three simple values…
Understanding cultural, national and social differences
Awareness of the social, economic, cultural and educational mechanisms behind the situations of discrimination, rejection, exclusion and marginalization
Increasing motivation to get involved in promoting equality and diversity
It all started with an idea… we wanted to experience what it is like to be marginalized or discriminated against, to live the experiences of such people in order to truly understand them, to discover the origins and mechanisms of racism, intolerance, xenophobia and discrimination, to better understand the world we live in, to be aware and experience other realities, to learn to appreciate the difference in a positive way, to develop positive attitudes, values and behaviors.
The activity program was created to accomplish the project objectives and included five levels:
Get to know each other and team building activities, which allowed us to achieve a positive group atmosphere, to facilitate communication and group dynamics. This stage was very important in the context of the approached subject. The planned activities were based on mutual respect, participants’ belief that everyone develops through this experience and that experiential learning is fun, enjoyable, rewarding and positive. If this wouldn’t be clearly understood, then difficulties and conflicts could arise, as activities led us to explore our thoughts, feelings, and emotions about our prejudices, beliefs, and worldviews. If the group wouldn’t get to know each other, consider the work environment a safe space for discussion, active listening and sharing experiences, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals.
Activities that explored the images and perceptions we have about other cultures, countries, social origins different from our own. These images and perceptions we are talking about are often the links between stereotypes and discrimination. If we do not understand where these images come from and do not learn to treat them in a critical way, we will not be able to analyze the influence they have on us and our view of the world. If we set out to reduce discrimination and intolerance, then the first step is to recognize these images for what they are – and only that – images that often have little to do with reality.
Activities that explored the social, economic, cultural and educational mechanisms underlying discrimination, exclusion, intolerance and marginalization. If we are not able to recognize the mechanisms that perpetuate exclusion and discrimination, we will never be able to address and change them. It is essential to have a perspective on interests, power and politics, at the local, national and global levels, which are the main causes of conflicts between people. Few people would choose to leave their homes, if not for war, famine, lack of employment opportunities, political and religious persecution, etc. We need to ask ourselves why the world situation is as it is and why it is so difficult to reform.
Activities that encourage the motivation to act, to get involved in order to prevent the problems of intolerance and discrimination caused by cultural and social differences. Carrying out this project would be useless if, as a result, we would’t learn how to act to create change. Change was seen as an essential result of activities. We had established three levels of action together. Action on a personal level, for example, being more aware of ourselves and our vision of the world and recognizing the importance of our personal actions. Local action within their own communities to support minorities or other “different” people. Action at organizational level, by carrying out sustained activities to create a fairer and more tolerant intercultural world.
Reflection and evaluation activities – including the Youthpass certificate. Within the project, the participants took part in project planning and preparation activities, mobility activity programme and dissemination stage and performed numerous tasks. From this experience, they learned a lot. By regularly reflecting on their learning process they became more aware of how they are learning and the potential they have. Also, regular evaluation of the basic elements within the project (activities, facilities, group dynamics, etc.) was essential for measuring the progress of the objectives and applying measures to improve the work processes.
The project „Scapegoat” was financed with the support of the European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme. This blog reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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