21st March – Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) Against Racism 2019
Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) started off “Anti-Racism Week” on the 18th of March with an interactive German communication workshop with young adults. Together with the participants we talked about different aspects of racism and racial discrimination in every day. To raise awareness and combat casual discriminatory remarks, we pointed out common German phrases and words that support racist mind-sets and therefore should not be used.
On Thursday 21st of March we talked with the children between 4 and 7 years about how people can look differently (hair colour, skin colour). Combined with playful aspects we asked them to think about their differences and whether these things should really decide who they can play with or who is their friend. After separating them for a little experiment, the children themselves said that they can still be friends with people that look differently and played together.
During the second workshop with 8+ the participants were asked to think further about the way they see racism in their everyday life. We wrote down associations to both “Europe” and “Africa” to reflect on popular mind-sets and ideas perpetuating stereotypes and racist power dynamics. The goal was to make the participants more aware of less obvious forms of racist behaviour that they may encounter in their everyday life.
In the evening on the 21st of March we held a special event for the 16+ age group in the youth centre. Conversations about racial discrimination are often centered around Africa or African-Americans. While these are certainly very important topics to discuss, we wanted to focus on something that was closer to the reality of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this event we focused on the topic of Roma people living in different European countries by first talking a bit about their situation in Balkan countries and then watching a documentary that focused more on Roma people in western European countries, such as France, Italy and Spain.
In total there were 20 participants attending the anti-racism workshops, age 4-18. All workshops were held at the Youth centre Brčko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The workshops coordinator was international volunteer from Germany Fabia Stroetmann.