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The Common Ground Program is a professional educational platform for Hungarian classroom teachers helping to combat natural segregation in the educational system by bringing together students from Roma and non-Roma, Jewish and non-Jewish, disadvantaged and financially more established schools. The starting point of the project is the seminar, where we brought together teachers from the most elite schools of Budapest, from Jewish schools and youth organizations, as well as educators who organize afterschool educational projects (‘tanoda’) for disadvantaged Roma students in the countryside. Teachers learned about intercultural and project-based education through inter-active activities with experts: Újpedagógia (’new pedagogy') organized a workshop about online tools in education; Adománytaxi (‘Charity Taxi') presented a sensitizing game about the social issues of the Hungarian countryside; while Haver, a Jewish informal educational NGO showed us the Jewish quarter of Budapest in the framework of an exciting walking tour. Based on what they have learned, participants formed pairs and started outlining their own cross-cultural projects, in which Roma and non-Roma, Jewish and non-Jewish kids are going to meet, get to know each other, and create a project product together.
It was delighting to see how motivated and dedicated our participants were in spite of the pandemic. Sitting in masks, calling via Zoom those project partners who could not attend, struggling with uncertainties they face in their institutions, they outlined exciting project ideas including songs, dance, and even board games – all to address the issues of stereotyping, prejudices, and how we can all live together in a heterogeneous democracy.
The project will be realized until the end of April, with the professional and financial support of Centropa. We can’t wait to see the results!
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