Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Romanian follow-up by Alexa

Given that I had no experience in non formal education, except the projects in whichwas involved (the most important being the one held this year, the Vidrike, Estonia, "Stop Labelling Yourself), the emotions I have tried in the morning of April 5, 2012 were too large to be described. Working with children is not my strength, perhaps because I am stubborn to think that I lack pedagogical talent. Well, with the knowledge gained in the training course from Estonia, where I had not only trained trainers but also a great team, I've tried to give my best in order to provide  information that could help my first workshop participants in discovering and avoiding stereotypes.

I do not know how, but once passed the first five minutes of presentation, mine and theirs, everything turned into a game, their interest and attention fueled my desire to explain things related to discrimination and stereotypes and prejudices and debating together as many problems as possible.
Overall, exploring stereotypes through various exercises, debates on the equality between a man and a woman, interspersed with relaxing and group building games aroused the interest and active participation of children, so that the end of the workshop brought much sadness in classroom. All of them would have wanted at least a few extra hours, which unfortunately they did not obtain. But they have my promise to return and to carry out other useful and interesting workshops.

For me it was a very intense experience, which I intend to repeat as soon as possible.


Article about workshops in Romanian media

"Stop Labeling Yourself" in Dej

"Stop Labeling Yourself" - if not all people from Dej, at least those who have recently participated in the workshop "Stop Labeling Yourself!", respectively tenth grade students from "Al. Papiu Ilarian" high-school.

Organized by the "ASCU" Cluj and LAPI, the workshop was held by Alexandra Alexa, participating in January on a project bearing the same title, held in Vidrike, Estonia. That project was implemented by Seiklejate Vennaskond Association, the project was supported by "Youth in Action” programme of European Union, which brought together 21 young people from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Turkey and Hungary. ASCU Association, which was partner in "Stop Labeling Yourself!" project, organizes non-formal activities that promote learning through active participation and experimentation among children and young people in Cluj.

Welcomed with interest by the students, the workshop was all about defining stereotypes-trough  games and exercises, exploring and discovering their own prejudices related to different people in terms of social, financial and educational background; and discovering their own identities in relation to others. Discussions on the topics covered the differences between a man and a woman, the way a woman is seen in contemporary society, which are her competence as compared with man's – this was  probably the most exciting topic! This was also an excellent way to understand and learn about stereotypes and prejudices present in our everyday lives and to acknowledge and understand that these stereotypes can easily lead to discrimination. In fact, this was the purpose of the workshop, carried out in English, in the presence of Prof. Cornelia Platon, English professor and also the coordinator of the educational program "Adobe Youth Voices".

Although, to create stereotypes is a natural function of our brain, in order to simplify the complex reality, the results can be quite dangerous. Maintained by the media, stereotypes lead to prejudice and negative opinions about others and are usually major obstacles in communication. When acquired in childhood, they are very difficult to change and remain stubbornly in our minds, contributing to our perceptions and our behaviors. It is no surprise that people with low intelligence and knowledge are the most prejudiced.

Fortunately, people can change their stereotypes gradually over time, through education and higher learning, as they accumulate more experience, more knowledge and information.

M. Vaida

you can find the original article, written in Romanian, here:„sa-nu-ne-etichetam”-la-dej/

Monday, April 16, 2012



        "Stop Labeling Yourself" Turkey follow up had done. We are as being trainers of this workshop  are very happy to use the informations and skills that we gained during the training in Estonia. At this point, of course Heleri, Ignas, Katja and Kaisa deserves the appreciation. We were about 17 people who are members of our association( Euro Mediterranean Youth Association) + 2 trainers joined this workshop. It was really better and more fun than I expected before the workshop. We generally try to concentrate on stereotypes issue; however we begin our training by my identity activity after an introduction part and the explanation of the daily program. 

                                   11.30- 12.30 MY IDENTITY
                                   12.30-13.00  COFFEE BREAK
                                   13.00- 13.45 EXPLORING STEREOTYPES
                                   13.45 -15.15 CONFRONTING STEREOTYPES


   In this session, we told about our moleculars to the participants and asked them to do their own. Everybody prepared their own moleculars, and then discussed it into groups. As we talked in the project in Estonia, participant were glad to get know each other closer.Then, we had a coffee break a different one     ( Turkish style) Delicious Turkish black tea is coming, ATTENTION PLEASE :)  

   The second activity is exploring stereotypes (Unfolding Paper Activity)  it was interesting to see participants' stereotypes, biases and points of view. We had a chance to compare them with the both activities, we do in Vidrike and the workshop that we practice to high school students in Estonia. We clearly see that, cultural differences, geography, religion and the environment that you live changes people's stereotypes. On the other hand, some of them are globally accepted such as blondies are stupid. =) It took some time to read the writings, because all participants were eager to read all of the papers. We were very glad to see that effort. General questions such as what did you learn from this activity and did you find anything interesting discussed and the result was fine. Participants do not need a push to express their ideas. Okay, the stereotypes are explored what to do now ? 

   To learn how to fight with stereotypes and discrimination. ( Confronting Stereotypes- Cafeteria Activity ) The participants seperated into three groups. The tasks were actions against discrimination, roots of discrimination and advantages/disadvantages of being men and women. Participants are kindly requested to prepare a presentation. All of the participants, went all three cafeterias and discussed the ideas with others. It was a brainstorming time. Nice to see fully filled papers with great ideas. 


   Actions against discrimination presentation..

 Roots of discrimination is being discussed..

 Time to go another table guys...

  Men and women presentation was the most discussed one. Some advantages of being men and women were totally agreed. But different opinions about several points announced. Cafeteria activity was the most interactive and interesting part of our workshop. Also this part took more time then the others as we thought the most important activity was that. We always believe that the famous quote by Albert Einstein ( Did you remeber him guys ? We are all Einsteins :) ) " It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." Therefore, we gave a special importance to that part. 

  When we concentrate on the feedbacks, particaipants were also quite happy to join such a workshop. They said it was very beneficial to discuss such matters and trying to do something for these issues raised their awareness. We are gladfully announce you that trainers also got very good feedbacks.

That was a great experience for us.We want to thank all of the participants who joined our workshop. And we are missing those amazing days we spend in Estonia. Greetings  from Turkey ! 



Sunday, April 15, 2012

First interculural training in Belgium by V Van Leeuw & J Tijer.

Finallyyy we are posting about our follow up activity of our amazing experience in Vidrike. As you know, Virginie and I, form the Belgian team of the group and therefore we held our workshop together in our home town Liege.

First of of all I must say that we were lucky to find support from the head of Epto belgium, our friends and our organization: Instants Productions, in order to logistically organize our event. We decided to do it on a Saturday afternoon as most people are busying during the week.

We mainly promoted our event via facebook and using our own friend's network an through this technique we managed to gather around 15 people. It was nice we had a mixed group with man and woman with different roots as you know belgium is a country of immigration so it was nice to have this cultural diversity in our workshop :-)!!

Concerning the agenda of our workshop we respected the themes that we saw in Vidrike. In fact we started our session with an introduction round where we talked a bit about youth in action and we explained why we were doing this workshop and what with did in our training in Estonia. I think that was very important as a lot of participant were wondering why were we organizing such an event. We then did a classic introduction round with a little icebreaker so that the participant could know each other beter and feel more confortable about SHARING about them and their experiences.

After the introduction round, we played the greeting game. This was a great activity as the participants started to understand that they are in an active workshop and that they wont just sit and listen for the whole day.

Afterwards we ran the molecule activity which was really good. Virginie played the game of going out of the room and the participants wrote their first impression about her before she told who she really is via her molecule. We of course formed groups to let the participants share who they are and then we played the standup game before debriefing the activity all together.

We then moved on with the quadrant activity, that was really a cool activity as well as we got a great conversation out of it and we started discussing real life situation related to discrimination and prejudices that happen in Belgium. Finally we closed the session with the rolling paper game, and there it was interesting to see that everyone had stereotypes and that is something inherent to the human kind that we cant remove but at least we could try to reduce and try to go beyond our first impression.

We had really good feedback about our workshop. The participants said that they were all happy they had come even if it was a kind of sunny Saturday :). They were positively surprises about the methods we used to lead the conversations and they loved the non formal learning aspect of our session. Actually most of them admitted that they expected to be bored and that they won't learn much but at the end they were all very happy about the small group discussion they had and that they were very happy about sharing their experiences but most of all happy about hearing other's experiences. We all concluded that, a few hours to deal with such a topic is not enough and that our session only explored the subject in surface. They all would have enjoyed to have joined us in Vidrike for a longer training :)!!

Finally us as trainers, we felt very confortable and we were really happy about the outcome of our session. All the participants came with a good spirit and they all participated quite well, we never expected blanks in our conversations we even had at sometimes to stopp the conversations due to time management. There is no need to say that we got good grades as trainers :P so that was very positive for us. It was a great experience and we are thinking about organizing other similar events.

Jalal & Virginie

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Video is ready!

Check out the fantastic video by Alberto and find out what we did during the training course "Stop Labeling Yourself!"

Dolls Square Project (Croatia)

Project was divided in two parts:

1. Workhop on discrimination and tolerance - 09.02.2012.

Power Point Presentation for children from elementary school and discussion on topics:
  1. What is discrimination
  2. What kind of discrimination do you know
  3. What is diversity
  4. Why is important to recognize and understand diversities
  5. Diversity in nature
  6. Sexual orientation
  7. Race diversities
  8. Religion diversities
  9. Diversities by birth
  10. Culture diversities
  11. Prejudices
  12. Tolerance and why it's important to be tolerant

Participants: 10 kids, age 10 – 12
Trainer: Ada Reić
Photo, preparation, materials and evaluation: Stipe Plejić
Art teacher: Nataša Ljubetić

2. 'Dolls Square' - 19.02.2012.
Art presentation of discrimination
Place – Public Piazza

Kids were presentating their hand-made dolls on discrimination topics... (see photos)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Training Course Stop Labeling Yourself

This training course has given me a lot of things!

First, I discovered a new country and new culture. Secondly thanks to the activities and workshops I became conscious about a lot of things of discrimination and prejudices and it allowed me to reduce a lot of My prejudices. We all have prejudices and I think nobody of us can totally remove his prejudices but it's very important to know and to realize that it is a prejudice…
It was also really interesting to discover the different discriminations in each country.
(Difficult to express myself in English but I hope you understand what I mean…)
But I want to add something!! ;-)
Our group was really great, everyone was very interested in the topic and we could share our experiences and learn a lot from each other. Work with you was really interesting thanks to the group dynamic, willingness and good mood. I improved a lot my English and I'm more comfortable when I have to speak in English with somebody. (Yes, my English is very bad, but better than before!).

What did I learn?!
I really learned a lot of things! First a lot of tools that will help me to realize little workshops in my town. Then, I learned a lot about the cultures from all the participants, their languages…To conclude, I made a very rewarding experience, I got to meet really amazing people and I'm sure for many of them, we will meet again!
Estonia is part of one of my best experiences and even today there is not a day where I do not think about this training, this group...
I hope that more and more young people will participate in this type of training or youth exchanges because I think it's in large part like that, that attitudes can change. I miss you all a lot, and hope we'll see us again, maybe, in another training course! J


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some more pictures from workshop in Bucharest

The main actor :)

They are all in there

Now...let's arrange according to the sign of the zodiac. don't speak ! you have one minute

Why did you choose these five words?
Sitting and standing after the identity molecule

Intense brainstorming..

Yes, write that !

Listening what others found as roots of discrimination ... 

Romanian language lesson :)

The second Romanian language lesson. You can undertand it, isn't it? :)