Programme & action: ERASMUS+: Youth, Key Action 1: Training Course
Dates: 18-26 July 2021
Venue: Aninoasa, Dambovita, Romania
Host organisation: Asociația Be You
Participating countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Portugal, Poland
Czech team: Martin Zeman, Veronika Wróbelová, Klára Pánková
The ReAct Against Hate training course, like many projects, has been postponed many times last year. However, as they say, it is necessary to wait for good things, and this also applied to this course. We three patient Czech participants will certainly agree on that. A completely different path awaited each of us. Veru, in order to get out of her native Havířov, had to change to many buses before she got on a plane in Vienna, Martin took an adventurous train ride and then climbed a few Romanian mountains on foot, and I extended my journey through Poland. The transfer wasn’t complicated at all, but I was still looking forward to sleeping on the plane. I didn’t see that, because fate happened to put me on a plane next to Karla, one of the Polish participants, and before we landed, friendship was born. Veru and I met at the airport in Bucharest.
This was followed by an adventurous train journey from Bucharest to Targoviště, during which we learned, for example, that some Romanian trains have their doors open while driving. We met other members of the project in Targoviste at the station. We were picked-up by taxi, that took us outside the city, closer to the mountains, to our beautiful guest house with a magical view. They welcomed us with open arms, pizza and a gift in the form of a mug with our name and favorite motto. That ended our first day.
The program started on the second day. From the beginning it was important to get to know each other, to remember the names of the other participants and it was quite challenging, because there were about 30 of us. Participants from Croatia did not arrive for unclear reasons.
The diversity on our group was beautiful. We met from all over Europe, I was quite surprised by the age difference between the participants, because between the youngest and the oldest it could have been 40 years and we must admit that working with such a group was very beneficial. Our topic, as the name implies, was hate haste, or hate speech. It was hard to find a person who had never met her in his life, but thanks to the diversity of the group, we were able to think about the issue in depth. Participants from both students and teachers shared their experiences. The organizers had a busy interactive program ready for us, where we could see how our opinions both diverge and meet, and there was always enough space for discussion, everyone had the opportunity to defend their opinions and at the same time listen to the experiences of others.
Over the days, we have clarified what is the source of hatred in people, what factors can affect it and how to respond to it properly. But two activities affected us the most. The first was when we were divided into groups by country. Then one of the organizers read various sentences and if we identified with them, we had to speak. For some sentences, most went, for some only a few, and it showed us how big the differences are between us, despite how close we are to each other. The second important activity for all of us was of the same type in the form of a direct demonstration of the differences in the conditions from which we can come. In this case, we each received a ticket with our secret role, which we were to take ourselves into and then stand side by side in the line. Another organizer read simple sentences such as: Take a step if you are not afraid to go out on the street or take a step if you can afford to buy new clothes. Some of us got into the lead as the activity progressed, and others stood still after a few sentences. It was obvious that it wasn’t very pleasant for both the front and the back. In this activity we had the opportunity to see and see the social differences in the world. How all of us are privileged just because we can participate in such a project abroad. And we have this feeling in ourselves to this day and we are very grateful to both our home organization EYCB, Be You and everyone who helped organize this project. It was a very rewarding time and we brought not only a lot of new information, skills and experience, but also a few new friends.
Veronika Wróbelová a Klára Pánková