On Saturday, 27 August, the 16th BARUVAS meeting of Romani students came to an end. It was held after a three-year hiatus at the beautiful Hotel Týnec in Týnec nad Sázavou. During the week-long meeting, the Romani students learned more about discrimination in its various forms, hate speech and racism, and their activities involved working with these issues. During the week the students created more than one theatrical production, an outreach video for social media, and a campaign to support their scholarship program that will launch this fall.

„We think that talking about hate speech is very important. During the week, the students raised awareness of what hate speech is, created some interesting videos that we will be showing soon and also performed a play on the topic of hate speech and discrimination“ said Štefan Balog, manager of the scholarship program in ROMEA.

Heavy subjects for theater skits

Second day of meeting, as is traditional, was dedicated to the students creating skits. The morning part was about media literacy. That was followed by a discussion of hate speech, a subject that is currently quite pressing, including the issue of how the public is responding to receiving refugees from Ukraine. The students were then divided into smaller groups such that each included an experienced BARUVAS participant and newcomers. One representative of each group randomly selected from a hat a genre and a subject and the group then turned it into a skit. The end result was, for example, a fairy tale about Romani people hating other Romani people, or a reality show about segregation in the schools during the communist regime.

„It is delightful to see how much work the students put in to creating the scripts, the costumes and their characters. It is clear to see that a creative approach to these discussions and awareness-raising about subjects that are not exactly easy is the right way to draw attention to them,“ scholarship program manager Štefan Balog said.

Campaigns for hate speech

As part of the campaign against hate speech and discrimination, the students made several videos and photos, which we will soon publish on our website. The campaign will then continue in October, when another meeting of students will take place in Prague. 


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