What sounds and is written like a tongue twister is a complex, year-round program for our young people, in which they receive comprehensive training as peer trainers. In order for them to be able to offer workshops on the topic of antigypsyism to their peers in schools and youth facilities later on, they have to acquire these skills at such a young age.
It is not only important to have theoretical and legal knowledge on the topic and to get to know different levels of discrimination, but also soft skills such as argumentation, conflict management, moderating and leading groups. Recognizing fake news and learning tools for successful communication are also important components of the peer trainer training. In addition, it is important to us that the prospective peer trainers develop their educational tools during the training and get many opportunities to practice before the “real thing” begins. Accordingly, our training is designed by a group of experienced trainers after many discussions with our young people.
In times of the pandemic, we realized the importance of creating online opportunities for our youth group. Therefore, we quickly moved to online workshops. Since October 2020, we have been giving our workshops exclusively online. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that online workshops require some infrastructure, such as laptops and working internet. This is because some online tools that are popular to use in online workshops cannot be operated from a cell phone or tablet. Just as in the school setting, we see this as a major barrier to participating reasonably in online offerings. For some of our participants, we made it possible for them to sometimes use the infrastructure of our office space. Sometimes, to avoid traveling by public transportation, we have even opened our homes to individual participants. We see how engaged our young people are in the workshops, how they grow together as a group, and how empowerment literally happens before our eyes. As a team, we don’t want to let this commitment down. Despite the pandemic, we are moving forward with the workshops and the youth are looking forward to their own workshops that can take place in any form starting in the upcoming 21/22 school year – online or offline… preferably OFFLINE!