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March 9, 2010 at 11:06 Leave a comment

Yes, Shumen Can!

The title of our previous post was either given by the national coordinator or the administrator of the blog. This was due to the fact that we were so focused on coming up with the title for our movie that we forgot to propose the title for the previous post. However, today we won’t forget! So, here it is: Yes, Shumen can!

Yes! We did it. Our movie is a fact. We finished it on Saturday. Frankly speaking, it exceeded our expectations. And why not, after going through so much trouble! There was swine flu and vacations. We won’t forget the cold and missing our outdoor shooting. We were banned from shooting families in their homes. Interestingly, some of the youth participating in the movie had a low education level, having been dropped out as punishment for their low marks in school. But let’s look at this as philosophical …

Many interesting things happened to us. We learnt for example that in Shumen, there is an Armenian Church. We also realized that the Jewish in our town are just one family. Surprisingly, we didn’t know that when one enters a mosque, one has to take off shoes…Very unexpected was a proposal towards our reporter Slavka – to be a young bride in the Roma neighborhood! Indeed we had a lot of unexpected things happen to us. For example while we were thinking about the script of our movie, we thought of publishing a book with anecdotes. We learnt a lot of anecdotes! Differences and similarities; stereotypes… Here is one of them:

“A man was walking in the desert, almost dying of thirst. In the end he saw an oasis. When he came closer to it, he saw a scary dragon sitting beside it. Scared or not, he had no choice but to confront it.  He had a huge fight with the dragon. At some point the dragon stopped and asked him:

–          What are you doing man?

–          I am fighting.

–          Why are you fighting?

–          I want to drink water.

–          If you want – just drink…

Surely, the work with camera and microphone was not so easy. For the footage, we have no words. But finally here it is! Our movie! 27 precious minutes of curiosity, worries, self showcase arguments, new horizons, new friendships… The title of the movie is trivial: “Different, but Together” (but it has to be focused on the theme).

More real is the other – the one, which was hidden in the sparkling eyes, in the soul – Try for a flight”

No, no wasn’t a try – it was a “Fly”!

March 8, 2010 at 12:05 Leave a comment

Positive Things Can Happen in Our Town….

On 12th February, the Youth and Civil Initiatives in the Rose Valley Association concluded the campaigns in Kindergartens of Karlovo. Through lots of paintings, pictures and interactive games, we touched even the hearts of the youngest. The children were very emotional and natural when they were hugging and kissing to show us their love for one another no matter how different they were. To motivate the kids to play and create together, we gave each group educational games, materials for painting, and mini encyclopedias titled “Why the people are different”. We believe that the administrators of the kindergartens will continue the education on Tolerance using the materials provided.

Despite the cold, unpleasant weather, we staged a final event by organizing a thematic exhibition and a competition at the Youth Information Centre. Many kids and youth from Karlovo and Sopot with different ethnic backgrounds, as well as students from the Daily Centre with different level of handicap took part in the competition. All of them expressed what it means to be tolerant and how to accept others by painting on a white sheet that we had provided.  Children from the three kindergartens especially impressed us with their paintings, because they understood the theme very well. Therefore, we awarded them the first prize.

The exhibition is still open for visitors and is being enjoyed by the locals who express their support and the fact that positive things can also happen in our town.

More pictures from our last actions can be seen here:

March 5, 2010 at 11:38 Leave a comment

Many Faces of Roma

The just concluded national competition of photography was organized by the Aprilov-Palauzov Chitalishte, within the framework of the campaign “Different People-One Europe!” This Photo Exhibition, “Many Faces of Roma” competition received over 80 participants from all over the country. A five- member judge committee announced the winners as follows:  First place, a weekend for two, was awarded to Lora Vasileva who presented a photo of Esma Redjepova – the Roma queen of music. Second place went to Marina Marinova from Stara Zagora and Third place to Velichka Todorova from Pazardjik.
After the competition and presentations of the awards, over 100 participants filled the hall to watch spectacular performances of songs, dances, theatre, pantomime and traditional plays. This colorful art program on the stage of Gabrovo was unprecedented. It won many supporters and fans, reiterating the message of the Campaign: “Be good; live in peace.”

3rd place

2nd place

1st place

March 5, 2010 at 11:35 Leave a comment

Ethnic X – factor, Why Diversity Matters

On January 29th the ‘One Europe’ national group of Denmark joined together with other Crossing Borders members to participate in a workshop on diversity done by the “Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies”. After the workshop the ‘One Europe’ group had a meeting and status update about the national campaign.

Denmark has been covered by snow for months, so the participants arriving by train started out the morning with a beautiful, white walk through of the forest to Krogerup Højskole, the venue of the workshop and meeting. The day was soon to become much more colorful as the workshop “Ethnic X – factor, Why Diversity Matters” began.

The workshop started by pointing out the advantages which can be identified within a multicultural group or organization. Groups simply tend to be more innovative and creative if they consist of mixed cultures. For Crossing Borders, whose members have various backgrounds, it was an interesting fact to learn how our group can be more efficient as well as creative than a homogeneous group would be. This point was of great interest and relevance for the ‘One Europe group’ where a lot of cross-cultural cooperation takes places. Therefore all ears were open for inspiration.

Another session of the workshop focused on mapping out the individual competences or so called knowledge domains of each participant. By placing the collected knowledge domains on a common black board, it was pointed out what the group had in common as well as what the individual participants could offer to the group. This exercise was a very useful tool. It enabled the participants to identify other and new qualities and skills within the group, to be used for the future as well as the current cooperation and projects.

Following this inspiring workshop, the ‘One Europe’ group caught up on the status and development of the national and local campaigns. Promotion materials consisting of posters, t-shirts, leaflets etc. are almost done and soon Danish students at selected local high schools will be busy implementing the project, by reporting discrimination experiences and producing their own videos, touching upon the subject matter of discrimination.

As the workshop and meeting came to an end, the ‘One Europe’ group members felt more than motivated to kick off the campaign, and hereby using our new gained knowledge on the potentials of our cross cultural group with various competences. The multi-colored day was over and during the walk in the white forest on our way back to the train, the world sure seemed more colorful!

February 16, 2010 at 15:59 1 comment

Youth workshop in Germany – “Berlin overcomes the Anti-Gypsism”

From 1-4 February 2010, Germany’s One Europe! partners from Berlin – Amaro Drom, MediaRroma and RAA – gathered with 20 young Roma and non-Roma to prepare for spring and summer campaign actions.

The team is supported by Germany’s famous rapper Tibor Sturm, aka Quietstorm, who is one of the founders of the anti-racist German rap musician’s group Brothers Keepers. Quietstorm is recording a rapsong against Anti-Gypsism with the youth team, which will accompany the campaign actions. The professional support should increase the possibility to get air time and enter radio stations, acquiring more attention for the issue during the summer months, when Roma from Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia may again become more visible trying to earn income on the streets of Germany’s big cities.

Other support comes from video filmers recording a second version of street interviews about stereotypes towards Roma and Sinti. Interviewees will be asked, why people say Roma are nomads, thieves and making such good music and, last but least, where they think prejudices against Roma appear most strongly.

Roma and non-Roma girls are enjoying traditional dance lessons together, showing that Roma culture is not completely different, but rather an integrated part of the popular culture in Germany.

Photos and personal texts from Roma children, created with the support of actors and photographers, will tell stories of very early discrimination in the school and also be used for the planned campaigning workshops.

Seven to Eight workshops with town administrations, schools and inhabitants from areas where it is likely to have Roma from Southeast Europe working on the streets are also planned.  The workshops will combine a scientific explanation of the history and function of Anti-Gypsism in the German society, along with films, discussions, dance, photo exhibition and a theatre play from young people.

Christoph Leucht

One Europe! Campaign contact for Germany

February 9, 2010 at 12:06 Leave a comment

Learning Together and Creating Together in Pécs, Hungary

In November 2009, about 20 Roma and non-Roma children aged 7-14 started a new weekly after-school activity, as part of the “Different People-One Europe!” campaign.  Led by a team from the local Roma association ‘Khetanipe’ , children from the Heroes Square school in Pécs, Hungary started learning about the European Union and campaign themes such as intercultural understanding, acceptance of others, respect for diversity and social inclusion. Through the use of drama pedagogy and cooperative learning methods, the children are learning together, working together and creating together.  On the basis of their ideas and common understanding of the slogan “Different People – One Europe”, the children will paint two large sheets, which will be hung on walls in the city, at various events in February 2010. Khetanipe will also produce a short film of the local campaigning actions. The work of the children is expected to be exhibited at various events throughout the year, since Pécs is the European Capital of Culture in 2010.

February 8, 2010 at 17:28 Leave a comment

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