Gender, race, skin color, ethnic background, social status, sexual preferences are the most common areas of discrimination. Lack of tolerance can have serious consequences in the form of violence or aggression – verbal, psychological, physical. Results of such actions include auto-aggression, disorders or social exclusion of those discriminated against. That is why Foundation for Family Planning Wroclaw, which has been active in the area of discrimination for 13 years, created the program “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education”, whose main goal is creating a trend for tolerance toward differences. The project was created mainly with youth environments in mind (13-30 years of age) in Lower Silesia, pupils, students, as well as young employees of educational and correctional facilities.
Ways of carrying out the program:
– training of Lower Silesia university students in the area of relaying anti-discrimination knowledge in the form of lectures or workshops in educational or correctional facilities in Lower Silesia.
– Educational meetings with youth, employees of educational facilities, parents – informal education.
– Creating an informal education model – the older teaching the young.
– Seminars for those carrying out and those taking part in the training, along with representatives of local government and media.
– Psychological education in local and national media.
The project “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” promotes dignity, equality and freedom. It furthers attitudes of understanding and acceptance, also prevents discrimination.
Project’s goals are i.a. :
– promoting respect for being different
– raising levels of knowledge on racist, xenophobic, homophobic behaviors in the context of different symptoms of discrimination and their social impact.
– training a group of students to recognize their own, as well as their pupils’ emotions, be able to work on them and react to inadequate behavior, such as any sign of intolerance towards ethnic, sexual, national etc., minorities.
– Getting students ready to run classes amongst chosen groups from educational and correctional facilities.
– Running an every-day informative and educational phone-line
– Reaching, through classes in educational facilities, local communities, which often show limited flexibility and tolerance towards differences.
The project “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” is fulfilled by Foundation for Family Planning in Wroclaw from April 18th 2014 through December 31st 2014 and is being funded by Lower Silesia Marshall’s Office.
Ahead of us is the last class in the “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project. Similar to all the others, our classrooms will be filled up to the last available seat. The interest in the art of tolerance, especially amongst students of various social studies at Lower Silesian Universities, towards whom our project is aimed, has been high from the start. Little wonder, our classes are free of charge, and every one-day training session ends in issuing an appropriate certificate. It must be said, that each recipient earns it. All groups so far have been engaged and full of energy. There was no shortage of discussion, as well as difficult questions, which our specialist staff had to answer.
We hope for more of the same at our last session, for which we still have limited seats available. The interest is high, and the number of remaining spots limited. It really shows that discrimination-related issues are vital, and many young people nowadays take notice. All the more reason to take part in a project, whose main objectives are ideas such as dignity, equality and freedom. We invite all who think that racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other signs of intolerance should be countered. The base of our project are activities based on informal education aimed at countering discrimination, particularly due to gender, sexual orientation, race/background, social status.
Apart from taking part in a professional training session, backed by a certificate, we offer training materials – extensive knowledge on discrimination, its symptoms, and ways of prevention. Those who completed our training, had much to say about thoroughness of materials prepared. For last people this year to participate in the “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project we’ve also prepared such literature, aimed for people deeply concerned with the problem.
Two projects are still ongoing, however, one important program has run its course. We completed the last training session in the “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project. If there are couple dozen people taking part in a non-mandatory project dealing with an important problem, we can easily call that a huge success. Every training session attracted a full audience, our staff each time had an opportunity to work with a group of highly engaged young people, who want their peers to change their way of thinking and are taking a conscious effort to actively shape new attitudes.
The last session, which just concluded, as well as the ones we organized in previous months showed us that there is no shortage of good will and eagerness for a change, which is why we will work on subsequent projects on problems of discrimination. Especially given that positive energy amongst young people, students, and tomorrow’s pedagogics, teachers and trainers was positively surprising. It’s not just about friendly atmosphere created at each and every training session, but particularly the interest showed in the topics and a broad understanding of the problem’s core. Our trainers’ reports, as well as participants’, suggested that satisfaction was mutual. On one hand the professionalism of the staff was stressed, on the other the participants themselves did a great job and took part with much enthusiasm. Issuing each and every certificate, acknowledging conclusion of the “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project, was not simply a formality, but a genuine reward for effort put in.
Let us remind that each participant’s job was to familiarize with the topic of “differentness” based on skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Knowledge of the source of homophobic behavior or social withdrawal results towards people discriminated against. During training they learned how to recognize their emotion, how to work on them, how to react to unwanted behavior and how to teach tolerance towards people from ethnic, sexual or national minorities.
We hope through this program to bring Lower Silesia youth and Europe closer together.
The “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project from start to finish attracted high levels of interest, particularly amongst students of social majors at Lower Silesia Universities. No wonder, the classes were free of charge, plus, every one-day training session culminated in issuing an appropriate certificate. In total, 75 students received it.
The project was very complex, it started back in mid-April. Numbers are the best testament of what we managed to accomplish. We created (specifically for the project) an information-educational phone-line, recording over 300 calls, which amounted to 475 hours manning that line. We put together 3200 pieces of information materials and 115 sets of training materials for students. We managed to complete informal classes in over 80 groups, amounting to over 160 hours. We also completed 50 hours of specialist consultation.
The numbers show how much work we put in, however, the effects cannot be as simply calculated. They are as long-term as they are important. We managed to familiarize the topic of all kinds of “differentness”. Get to the core of discrimination attitudes, find their root, show their dismal results in people discounted from society due to bias and stereotypes. Moreover, we believe we managed to increase tolerance levels amongst many people. Very significant is the fact of working with students and young employees of various facilities. That’s how we planned to enhance competence levels in present and future pedagogics and psychologists.
The “The Same – informal anti-discrimination education” project has drawn to a close, which doesn’t mean we won’t be working on discrimination-related issues in 2015 as well. All information on our current projects can be found on our website www.trr.info.pl or our facebook profile.