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No hate speech: training course in Macedonia

No hate speech: training course in Macedonia

Last month the trotamundus Cesc Curto and Raquel Selma participated in the first of the mobilities of the project "No hate speech: Methods and Techniques Combating Hate Speech". In this Erasmus+ training course they worked on methodologies on how to stop and combat the hate speech. Raquel and Cesc have written about their experience and have sent us a wonderful video with the project result. This course has been organised by the VCS Skopje and Braga Mob, and it is co-financed by the EuropeanC ommission through the Ersamus+ funds.

The experience of Cesc Curto: "I came, I saw and I lived"

It was an ordinary day of my routine, I got up at six in the morning, I showered, I had breakfast and I left for the course. I was sick of my routine, of acting like a Swiss watch, I already anticipated everything I was going to do later, as soon as I finished at noon. I would go to work, I would run, I would work my hours and I would go to my house to prepare my project submissions or study until going to sleep and repeat the same ritual on the next day.

In midmorning a fleeting thought passed thought my mind "What is happening right now in Mundus?". I took out my phone and got on their wesite and "BINGO!" Luck had smiled on me. There was a training course on techniques and methods against hate speech, what else could I ask for? Escape my routine, travel, meet new people, expand my CV.. What was waiting for? I immediately contacted Sara, who had helped me with my EVS as sending tutor, to solve a couple of doubts and she gave me Marta's contact so she could solve them. Once solved, I updated my CV and made a letter of motivaion and I passed them to them. The response was immediate and with good news. I was going to Macedonia!

I showed up in Mundus so they could help me with the plane tickets, since they were a mess. Once I had them, the days flew by. Finally the day came, and I could not be happier. On April 15th I finally broke my routine. The first day was just about travelling. I first flew to Milan, where I stopped, I took the opportunity to see the brand new episode of Game of Thrones, and then I flew to Skopje. There, I had to wait a few hours, since they have to come and pick me up to drive me along with other participants who would arrive later. Thank goodness I had my external battery and that there was Wifi to kill time watching series on Netflix. After a 3-hour-trip through the crazy middle roads of Macedonia, we arrived at the hotel. I was assigned to my room, where therewere already my roommates, I opened it and I found two guys with a smile from ear to ear. Those smiles disarmed my concerns about whether I would find a good group.

The next morning the training began with dynamics on getting to know each other a little. There were people from many countries (Italy, Romania, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Germany and perhaps some more). From that moment on, time began to run like the wind. We did many very interesting and varied dynamics such as role playing, debates, group dynamics, videos and more. In them, we dealt with issues such as immigration, the LGBTIQ+ community, refugees, among others. Our goal in those dynamics was to break with the stereotypes and the stigmas that surround all these collectives. In all the things we did, it was possible to see how the different themes are treated in different countries. It was very instructive and enriching. We exchanged points of view, we reflected, we laughed and we laughed even more and we made a great group.

There were times when I stopped to observe with persective because I could not help noticing that what I was doing in a certain way I already knew, since I am studying social integration, I took the opportunity to observe those moments more specifically and take advantage of it. A situation in which I had to use my knowledge was the day before the last one. By groups, we had to make a video promoting a campaign to raise awareness about the subject we wanted (of which we had already spoken during all the previous days, of course). We were tired of so many days of not stopping and sleeping a little and that made a dent in the group's climate. Two peole soon enchanted defending their views without giving their arm to twist, another did not stop firing new ideas like machine gun, another simply turned away from everything and got the phone and the last one took a role of boycott. That was the theme of group dynamics, until now everything had been on paper, now I finally had my first case study.

I observed that the atmoshpere in the group was fucked. I tried to speak with the people who were like the battery poles to try to find a middle ground, I did not convince them. I tried again, this time using new ideas from the girl that was, it seemed that it convinced them bue there was the censorship of the boycott that did not wait however e came to an agreement, it did not convince anyone but we all agreed that it was better than nothing. Desite having concluded that we did what was agreed, people did not move, I began to despair, but I kept trying. I tried to motivate the team, it seemed like I suceeded, but the inevitable happened. The tension of the pile increased and they no longer wanted to do what we had said. The bad milk was beginning to show, but I was saved by the bell: the coffee break.

I went for a tea with the girl and to have some space from the group; all the groups had already an idea. Finally we came up with somethign! We did not stop saying to think, think and think, but, what if we went to something even more elementary? What if we appealed directly to our feelings? We put together the frustrated ideas giving them another focus and I accompanied them with a song that softens hearts, Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi. We went and we showed it to others, everyone was enlightened, finally, we had video. In less than an hour we recorded, edited the video and exposed it. I felt very happy. If we had had more time, the video would have been better but after struggling so much, for me, it was perfect.

The project was not exclusively about the training course. There was a day when we went to visit the city of Ohrid, the most touristic city in the area. That day was beautiful and we went round and round the city, the fortress, the lake.. at the end of the day the whitest people were no longer white but from a wide range of reds, obviously there were jokes of all kind on the part of the people of the Mediterranean, EH! But with love. We also did intercultural nights in which we shared traditions, food and drink from our countries with others. Raquel, the Spanish girl, and I decided to make tortilla de patatas with bread and tomato. The kitchen went from being a kitchen to being a trench, a lot to do and very little time to prepare two large tortillias and toast a lot of bread. After the stress and with a first tortillia that was more of a scramble, the second omelet came out to us.

It was a great experience, I met very interesting peole with whom I had the great pleasure of sharing thoughts and experiences, I made new friends, we had a great time and we learned, but above all, we were left wanting more. Now I have the thought put in Braga, Portugal, where the second part of the training will take place. Please arrive now!

The experience of Raquel Selma

If I had to describe this experience in a few words I would say that it was motivating and inspiring. For 10 days on the shore of Lake Ohrid in Macedoniaa, we made dynamics and games to create a group, get to know each other better and to deal with interesting topics such as stereotypes and prejudices and how to demistify them, working techniques and methods against discrimination and above all, learning to ACT against hate speech through small actions to create a better world, without stopping to have fun at any time.

I love multiculturalism and I think that doing project involving people from up to 13 counties like this case is something less interesting, but doing it with a theme like this was very empowering fro each one of us and made us break down barriers and we will create a beautiful family in just a few days. I think projects like this are a great opportunity to meet incredible people from other countries and learn from different cultures, opening a little more mind and heart. Highly recommended!!!

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

curso | macedonia | no hate | video | erasmus+ |