a Preparing for the first training in Slovenia I was wondering about hate speech and collecting cases in the Portuguese town Olhao, where I live. Hate speech isn’t so simple to tackle as it may look. Closest cases to me there were kids bullying, because I was working with kids.
Here I want to mention, that making a deep research on situation is great tool to make things easier in future work. At time of research I lived in Portugal for around 3 months and I didn’t speak Portuguese, so to understand what’s going on around I needed to be persistent with asking people around, and for them it was hard to analyze things they are so used to. Well, on the other hand I could have the fresh look, as person from totally different area of
Europe – Ukraine. Because for people, who live in one place for a long time, things often become normal, and it’s harder to perceive the discrimination around.
When I came to the training I found out that the definition of hate speech is much broader than I thought. I really would like people to know this term, because it will make it easier to explain cases of discrimination they experience.
So, after first the training, I was planning to implement activities to combat hate speech on topics of children bullying on the basis of socio-economic difference and Roma community discrimination. Once again, I found out it’s not easy to implement activities, especially when you don’t speak native language. One needs strong strategy to reach the audience, careful planning of activities and of course, an engaged and energetic team.
Together with a new team member, we implemented 3 activities about Roma community with kids, which are coming to our association, all 3 actions were in form of games. It looked like kids were already more or less aware about Roma community and their life, so I didn’t feel satisfied even so kids answered the questions and were active throughout the activity.
On the second training-convention in Portugal, where our team became even bigger, consisting of 3 people, we decided to tackle another topic. Because we were working in neighborhoods named “Panteras” and “BDi”, we knew about the problems of those people there who feel less worthy in comparison with people who live out of the neighborhood. The city residents’ insult and avoid these neighborhoods because they have labels of being poor, aggressive and with a lack of education and are perceived as the ones who take advantage of the financial aid of the government and municipality.
Our actions were directed to decrease the hate speech from the local communities towards the residents of the neighborhoods and change their perspectives when it comes to socioeconomic stereotypes. To tell the truth, our team consisted of experienced people, so it was easy to plan activities, but hard to implement due to other obligations of team members and my language barrier. We managed to ran 2 activities with kids of our association, but I don’t feel satisfied, because during the process I didn’t catch enough engagement level in eyes of kids that participated.
At the moment of writing my story we still have some activities to implement. I think to change perspective on something so basic like everyday life of people is a very long process. So I hope after next activities I’ll get more understanding how to approach kids and grown-ups from neighborhoods about this sensitive topic. I think it is very important for the kids to understand the root of problem and think about possible solutions, because the quality of their future life connected to this issue.