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Wonderful Diversity Stories

Romania
11/18/2015

A national anti-discrimination campaign called “Be Part of Diversity!” was launched in May 2014 by the A.R.T. Fusion Association in partnership with New Horizons Foundation.  Now the campaign has reached its conclusion.  In a year and a half, 100 young people have promoted human rights and diversity, working to change the mindset of those who stepped into their paths.

Nine IMPACT clubs were involved in the project:  Happynesia (Cluj), Phoenix (Dej), Arte (Oradea), Miron Costin (Iași), Maxim (Hârșova), Agricol (Călărași), Best Hurricane (Uricani), Români cu Normă Întreagă (Petroșani), and AREA (Petroșani).

After a training in Băile Tușnad in July 2014, which also included a day of activities at VIAȚA camp, the IMPACT clubs prepared Living Libraries and Street Campaigns through which they would promote diversity and mobilize against discrimination.

Living Library is a method that puts the public face-to-face with a problem, without any editing.  “Books,” in this library, are actually people who have personally experienced discrimination of some type, and they come willing to share their stories.  The “readers” then get the chance to sit in one-on-one dialogue with the “book” they choose. 

Street Campaigns followed the Living Library events in order to take the message further.  Using dance, theater, flash mobs, clowning, juggling, etc., these events made an impact on a large number of people.

In concrete statistics, “Be Part of Diversity!” meant the following results:

  • 16 leaders and 80 youth between 12 and 20 years old, members of IMPACT clubs from different geographical areas, family situations, and economic status, were granted access to an educational program about discrimination and human rights.
  • 225 “books” were checked out of living libraries in 8 cities (Cluj, Dej, Oradea, Iași, Hârșova, Călărași, Uricani, Petroșani, and București) in order to discuss stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination.
  • 10 volunteers from the A.R.T. Fusion Association were involved in the project activities.

The magic of non-formal education changed behavior and helped convince people to let go of their stereotypes.  The life stories collected throughout the project were gathered into a collection by A.R.T. Fusion and can be found on their blog at this address:  http://artfusion.ro/fiiparteladiversitate/