Imagine a 5-year-old child from the Balkan region growing up during the conflicts in 1990’s. How do you imagine this person after 20 years? Is this person Serbian who hates Albanians? Is this person Greek discriminating Macedonians? The answer is no. This person grew up to be a youth worker promoting anti-discrimination and fighting the stereotypes.
This person reflects all of us, the participants in the training course “Better Together” held from 7-13 November 2016 in beautiful Brestnik, close to Plovdiv. The participants came from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Slovakia as a non-Balkan country. During this training we focused on the discrimination issues, human rights, hate speech, media influence, gender equality, stereotypes, prejudice and how to fight them. The workshops were the most reflective and active part of the training, providing us with new information, in -depth knowledge on the topics and critical thinking. Through the role playing and games we got a chance to get in to the position of the discriminated ones. Walking in the shoes of the victims of discrimination led us to the realization that the differences in various societies are tremendous. Besides that, we hosted a few guest speakers covering the topics related to the theme of human rights and gender issues.
After the serious matters, the fun took place. The trip to Plovdiv and wellness was a good way how to relax and during the intercultural evenings, we could learn more about each country and its traditions. Greek music, Slovak fairy-tales, Albanian dances, Serbian food, Macedonian drinks, Turkish baklava, Bulgarian lifestyle, Romanian landscape and Croatian products have left a strong feeling in all of us. This was the beginning of all the get-togethers and long lasting friendships. We made it better together, so can you!
It stops with YOU.
If not YOU, then who?