Members of minorities distinguished by a stigmatising characteristic such as sex, skin colour, or sexual orientation experience minority stress, and this results in chronic tension and permanent hypervigilance. The current government portrays various minority groups in a negative light, and reduces the potential for supporting initiatives to counter violation of human rights, by cutting funding of organizations dealing with this. Minority group activists with a presence in the public sphere are particularly at risk of chronic stress, violation of human rights, and burn out.
We organised an empowerment programme to address these needs, intended for members of minority groups. 25 people acting in aid of rights of women, sexual minorities, immigrants, and people with disabilities took part in the project. Under the project, we conducted three-day workshops in which the speakers applied a process psychology approach, two modules on learning to network, forming a broad coalition and developing knowledge about human rights, and 74 psychological support sessions. In addition, there were four Deep Democracy Foundation networking consultations with members of activist groups intended to provide more information about the idea of deep democracy and to initiate joint measures, and a workshop was held on deep democracy for people activating local communities.
The project was conducted in partnership with the Wola Social Cooperative, which contributed knowledge and know-how of working with people with disabilities to the project, and was also responsible for enrolment for the project.
Through the empowerment programme, 25 minority group activists developed their knowledge and competences and their ability to care for themselves and prevent burnout; they formed new acquaintances with people in other minority groups and initiated joint projects and measures.