In Focus, an international workshop in Poland
My name is Giordano Miskin, I am 24 years old and I live in Amsterdam. My parents are from Suriname (South America). In September I went to the workshop “In Focus” in Wisla, Poland. A workshop about discrimination, marginalization and poverty. I represented Digg‘Out.
I was interested in this workshop because I wanted to develop myself, meet other young people to exchange experiences and to learn new tools/methods I could use to create awareness and fight discrimination, marginalization.
During the workshop in Poland we talked about discrimination, marginalization, poverty and how different this can be in other cultures and countries. Beside myself (The Netherlands) eleven other countries were represented: Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Malta, Macedonia, Italy, Armenia, Turkey, Lithuania, Georgia.
In these countries school was a big issue. For example, students from the age of 6-12 years old often don’t graduate. They have a hard time getting the required grades, because the quality of the education system is severely lacking. They have to work with old and damaged schoolbooks, teachers aren’t qualified and are underpaid. Although in Holland the school system is well organised, it is now turning into something only for wealthy people. For example. At first you had 10 years to graduate and get financial support during college and university. Now you only have 5 years and if you don’t graduate you get no financial support at all, plus a fine.
We also talked about physical handicaps. In Malta a physical handicap is seen as a disease that you should stay away from. Since there is no adequate social system they are limited in how to live their lives.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual
In Serbia and many more counties, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights are still nonexistent. Luckily the international community is taking notice and trying to take action, although some countries still disagree about the subject. In The Netherlands the rights of LGBT are embedded in the law. Still there are some people who are intolerant against LGBT. I don’t support this idea of intolerance.
The Sandwich Generation
Then there is the sandwich generation: the generation that is stuck between the care of their children but also their aging parents. This is especially difficult if the parent is working a minimum wage job. One of the solutions we came up with was that the grandparents would take care of the grandchildren while the grandchildren look after the grandparents. The parents can follow a course once a week, supported by an NGO. They can get a certificate after 12 months, that would increase their chances on the labour market. Hopefully this would enable them to earn more than a minimum wage. The quality of life can be increased by using this extra money, for their families.
Discrimination, marginalization and poverty are still big problems in the world. We hope to make a difference by giving workshops to raise the awareness about these issues. I think I reached my goal. I gained new exercises and learned new solutions to fight against these three topics. This life changing workshop in Poland has given me a different perspective on other cultures and the world, but also allowed me to make new friends.