The Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance (Amalipe) is a leading Roma organization working for equal integration of Roma in Bulgarian society.
Amalipe plays a central role in mobilizing the Roma civil movement and advocates for greater Roma representation within government institutions. It has 11 Community Development Centres across Bulgaria, allowing it to work at the grassroots level. Through Amalipe’s work with Roma young people in schools, the issue of school segregation came up as one of the major problems Roma children face.
According to Amalipe and several European studies, the extreme social disparity is largely due to stereotypes and misconceptions about Roma people in general, and in the school context about Roma children in particular. This led Amalipe to develop a campaign to specifically challenge these perceptions.
Their campaign launched with a student competition, asking children to submit counter hate speech examples. The most successful of these was a short movie called ‘A Tolerance Movie’. The short film was done by volunteers and it conveys a simple but strong message: turn hate into tolerance.
Amalipe’s campaign clearly shows what committed and motivated volunteers can achieve together. The film making process became a team building experience that empowered volunteers to take ownership of campaigning projects.
While some would argue that professional film makers would be able to deliver a more ‘polished’ product, this project has its message written all over it: acceptance, tolerance and coming together can lead to a better world, as opposed to hate, fear and division. For a group of enthusiastic volunteers this tactic is the most perfect and honest way of telling their message to the public.
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