Change begins with an individual
human rights
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
02-11-2021 - 31-05-2023
Project cost:
75 000,00 EUR
75 000,00 EUR
Types of activities:
art activities, educational activities, advocacy activities
Target groups:
migrants, youth, teachers

The project responds to the problem of discrimination against Ukrainian youth in schools in Malopolska, especially in Cracow. Intense migration of Ukrainians to Poland has been going on since 2013, when, due to the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the economic and social situation deteriorated and their sense of security drastically decreased, resulting in migration for work, settlement and also education – in search of better prospects. The number of students in Polish schools has been increasing for years. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war of 2022-2023 brought hundreds of thousands to Poland, especially in the big cities. The first experiences of children and young people upon arrival are usually culture shock, communication difficulties due to unfamiliarity with the language, a sense of alienation, confusion, resentment or discrimination from classmates, and the trauma of experiencing war and flight. Many Ukrainian children need the regular assistance of an intercultural assistant. Unfortunately, Polish schools are not prepared for this and need support in creating a multicultural environment based on tolerance and respect.

As part of the project, 16 educators from the Malopolska region, mainly from Cracow, were trained in working with the Forum Theatre method in the area of cultural integration and counteracting discrimination based on origin. Two performances were also produced with the trainees. This stage ended with an online seminar with a performance screening and a discussion about the impact of the Forum Theatre method on youth integration processes. Afterwards, the newly trained people independently conducted Forum Theatre workshops with young people in primary and secondary school grades 7 and 8. Eight performances were produced, accompanied by debates. The educators also supervised the preparation of recommendations for schools on the prevention of origin-based discrimination. The project ended with a conference summarising and disseminating the Forum Theatre method as a tool for supporting youth integration.

The project mainly benefited young people of Ukrainian origin studying in Krakow schools, although the activities were directly aimed at educators and schoolchildren in general. A group of 16 people were trained to learn how to use the Forum Theatre method to work integratively with young people and to counteract discrimination on grounds of origin. Students from Cracow schools gained skills in recognising and responding to exclusion and discrimination and in dealing with oppression. The project has also had a positive impact on the wellbeing of Ukrainian young people, their sense of acceptance and safety in the school environment.

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