Successfully has ended the training course “Equality: NOT Optional”

From 16 till 24th of September, in Poland, in a small town of Sepolno-Krajenskie took place the training course “Equality: NOT Optional”, for the youth and social workers, and just for all the interested in theme of this TC youth. The TC was dedicated to two themes – gender equality and protection of the rights of LGBT+ community (in context of European identity), and as a result, it was also dedicated to the fight against homophobia in European society. In this training course have participated 24 young people from various countries of EU: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Croatia. In this seminar has participated also volunteer from the society ERFOLG (Latvia). Project was funded by Polish NA, in context of Erasmus+ programme.

 

And now, let’s hear the story of the participant of this TC:

 

…My acquaintance with the participants of this training, as well as with Poland, has started from 4 hours long train trip from Warsaw to Bydgoszcz – four hours was more than enough to get the first impressions about the people, with whom I will spend the next week. In some way this trip itself has become a small “ice-breaking” activity.

Our trip to the destination point – town of Sepolno-Krajenskie and small guest house in the woods, where we had to live for the next week, took quite a long time. But for all the time we spent on the road we were rewarded by the marvelous landscapes of Polish autumn!

First day of the TC was rolled more or less standard – with the help of simple games we tried to remember the names of each other, and asked to each other various interesting questions. My special thanks goes to organizers of this training – they respectfully reacted to the physical condition of some participants (some of us were very tired L), and they don’t overwhelmed us with energisers and stuff.

Next day programme was far more various and interesting – we are created our “profiles” in a “live FB” with interesting facts about ourselves – for example which things we are enjoy about our gender, and which things we don’t like in our gender; most vivid memory of the past summer (my special thanks goes to organizers for this question J) etc.

Also we created four Polish “families”, to ease the work in groups, and to create a feeling of unity: Kowalski, Nowak, Wisniewski and Kozlowski. I was lucky to be in Wisniewski family J What a great idea it was!

Also we had a task to be a “mirrors” of each other – to “mirror” the movements of each other. This task was relatively simple at first glance, but I have some psychological difficulties with this ice-breaker L, but in the end I leaved my zone of comfort and did this task.

In this day we also have learned a lot of terminology regarding the gender and sexuality.

 

 

On the third day we learned about the Dutch learning game “So What?! The GayMe”, during this game we had an opportunity to compare the playing cards with the different aspects of our own sexuality.

We also learned about the sad story of girl (???) Abigale, and tried to determine the “degree of guilt” of each participant of this story.

We discussed the stereotypes, and how they influence our daily life, we also learned about the concepts of “Pyramid of Hate” and “Hate speech”.

We discovered a feelings of the person under the pressure of society – this was shown more than clearly with blankets, which was thrown by us on a person sitting in center of circle on the chair. Also this task helped us to understand what is empathy.

 

Fourth day, personally to me, was memorable because of canoeing, and, although we don’t did it on the mountain river, it was pretty extreme to me – I never did this before!

Also it was a good test of the command work – after all to successfully do the canoeing you need the combined efforts of two people. Me and my partner successfully overcomed all the difficulties!

Also in the same day we played a little sketches, linked with one theme (sexual harassment and verbal violence mostly), we did this on so called “forum-theater” principle (method invented by Brazilian dramaturge Augusto Boal, when every spectator can replace the actor in any moment and became a “spect – actor”), and we searched the non-aggressive solutions to resolve various situations of sexual harassment and verbal violence.

 

The next two days was dedicated to preparation and to realization of public events on the following two themes: equality of genders and fight against the discrimination in society. I and two girls was in group who has prepared the public event about the gender violence, and how to deal with it. But most of all in this day I liked the other group public event: role-play “Don’t Turn Your Back to the Others”, based on the other role-play activity “Take a step forward” (https://www.coe.int/en/web/compass/take-a-step-forward), and adapted to the context of LGBT+ community. This game maked me stop and think about the discrimination and injustice which happen on an everyday basis in our society, and in relation not only to the representatives of the LGBT+ community…

 

Two last days of the seminar was dedicated to summing up the results of the training course and parting with each other. We discussed the good and the bad sides of this TC, evaluated them. We tried to understand which “ingredients”, exactly, are needed to realize the successful training course. Later we had a last supper altogether, and we received our Youthpass’es as well.

 

In a conclusion I want to say a big “Thank You!” to all the participants of this seminar. And, although it will sound a little bit banal, but the part of my soul forever will be with all of You, Guys!

 

Article is written by Alexander Antipov