In Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a very diverse group of more than 30 people gathered for the Change Your Glasses training course, which aimed to recognise and understand the processes that lead to prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination.
And it was this diversity (because when else do you get the chance to listen to Albanians and Greeks debate political issues, Serbs and Bulgarians discuss the similarities of their cultures, or Italians and Portuguese debate the importance of religion) which ensured that we really had the opportunity to look behind the scenes of our inner stereotypes and start to break them down.
During the intensive 10 days led by facilitators from the Smokinya Foundation and Kibela organisations, we had the opportunity to try out a range of non-formal education techniques designed to encourage self-reflection on stereotypes and prejudices and to get us thinking about how we use prejudices in our everyday lives and how stereotypes can change reality by triggering specific behaviours and attitudes. Self-reflection was an important part of the course, so each participant took something different away from the training and left Plovdiv with a unique feeling. 10 days may seem like a short time, but in reality, it is long enough to create meaningful connections, to discover new sides of ourselves and to understand new concepts that I believe we can all then apply in our daily lives, thus creating a more inclusive and open environment for others.
It is for these reasons that I would recommend anyone who is unsure whether to take a similar training course to not hesitate and decide to “Change Their Glasses“ at the first opportunity given. It is worth it.
The project was realized and funded through the Erasmus+ programme and hosted by the Bulgarian organisation Kibela, supported by Smokinya.