Young people as well as their teachers in educational institutions (schools and universities) from the countries with significant Roma and other minority population often share deep prejudices against ethnic minorities. These prejudices have the same results in different countries: from one side, this minority vs. majority contradiction prevents them from real integration in society or educational institutions and violates their human and citizen rights. From the other side, it strengthens xenophobiaand racism including anti-Roma attitudes among the young people. Both minority and majority young people are suffering from xenophobic and racist stereotypes and are both victims. Thus, instead of being beneficiaries of a multicultural exchange, the students are deprived of this advantage.
The project “Youth is tolerance” aim is to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Roma attitudes based on traditional and new stereotypes among young people from age 14 to 25. The project further aims at promoting mutual understanding and tolerance.
The project sets several major objectives:
Change in the attitudes and stereotypes of young people towards other ethnic minorities. A system of trainings, campaigns, meetings and joint events will be held to raise the awareness of students about specifics of ethnic minorities, religions and traditions, and how they could work more effectively with them, and how to overcome cultural barriers.
Change the stereotypes and attitudes of minority youth towards young people from the majority and decrease the number of discriminatory practices towards differences.
Further develop the tolerance to diversity that youth has.
Help school authorities better deal with the anti-social behaviour of young people.
Achieving these objectives will form the basis of establishing a model for overcoming xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racist stereotypes among youth. It will further create a model for overcoming stereotypes in two different situations: the first one for instance, when Roma are numerous minority (Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary) and the second in which Roma are small percentage of the population (Greece). Thus the project will create European model.
The main activities of the project include the establishment of Youth Task Force Groups (YTFG) for combating the racism and xenophobia among young people and reacting on concrete cases of racism in their community or schools. They will be volunteer groups supported by institutions and local minority groups that exist in each of the regions. The YTFGs activists will mobilise the resources of the active young people for forming tolerance via conducting peer training in their regions, solving concrete cases of discrimination and organizing public awareness campaigns. Exchange of experience and know how among the YTFGs from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Greece will be organized. In addition, advocacy activities for ensuring extension and sustainability of the model created after the project will be organized.
The project builds upon the achievements of the project “To touch the Untouchable: combating traditional and new anti-Roma stereotypes” moving to another key target group – young people. In this way it contributes for forming comprehensive policy for combating racism, xenophobia and stereotypes, and forming ethnic tolerance at national and European level.
As suitable partners for the project we consider Police Departments that often deal with racist behaviour, schools, field workers such as social workers from institutions for children are also considered suitable partners of the project.
The project is starting on February 1st, 2013 and will continue 24 months.
The project will be implemented by consortium of organizations formed by AMALIPE (Bulgaria), Romani Criss (Romania), DARTKE (Hungary) and Antigone (Greece).
In Bulgaria the project will be implemented in the districts of Veliko Tarnovo, Shumen, Burgas, Plovdiv, Vratza and Blagoevgrad.