Living Library with IDPs (including people of colour)

Implemented by: non-governmental organization of international students’ rights protection «EL&OL».

Overview: School youth very easily takes up stereotypes in the society. Interpersonal conflicts between children of IDPs and their peers in schools are one of the problems of IDPs’ integration. The methods of the Living Library are efficiently used to disprove stereotypes about social, ethnic and religious minorities. The target audience of the Living Library with IDPs can be both teenagers (12-15 years old), and social counsellors or ordinary residents of the city. The guests in the event were IDPs (including international students who also were forced to leave occupied territories).

Operating procedures:

With the support of the Department of Education and Science of Ivano-Frankivsk, the activists implement a series of cultural and educational events for young people according to the methods of the Living Library.

  1. Getting a permit to implement the event from the city department of education and science. In order to speed up the consultations it is better to directly address the deputy dealing with extracurricular activity.
  2. Agreement on the date, venue for the event in one of the well-known public places (library, museum, etc.). 1. Inviting target audience: from each school we invite one group of children and social counsellors (4-5 school children and 1 counsellor). In total 25-30 members of the target audience take part in the event.
  3. Inviting guests – displaced persons of different age and status, people of colour. It is best to choose guests who are as different from each other as possible: an international couple,ьinternational students from exotic countries, who moved from Donbass or Crimea, displaced pensioners, young and ambitious displaced persons, those who have their business.

All the guests must be able to answer any questions from theaudience.

The structure of the event “Living Library with IDPs”

  • For several minutes there is a warm-up of the audience, and the audience is provided with information about the rules and the concept of the event (the invited guests sit in a separate room);
  • A mini-discussion is conducted in order to detect stereotypes about IDPs and people of colour etc. All opinions are recorded by the moderator;
  • The participants are united into groups (the number of groups is equal to the number of guests invited). Teachers/counsellors must be united in a separate group;
  • The guests of the event are invited to the audience. Each group takes turns to talk to each of the guests and asks them any questions for 8-10 minutes.

Drawing conclusions. Together with the audience, we discuss the problems encountered by the guests. The participants share their impressions with the moderator and express their own evaluation of the stereotypes which were formulated at the beginning of the event.

Impact:

  • Naturally, it is difficult to measure the statistics of stereotypes disproved and tolerance increased among the participants of the Living Library. Nevertheless, judging from the feedback from the participants, the desire of the school administration and active teachers to continue having such activities according to this methodology, we can claim that it is efficient. Moreover, the Living Library has a positive impact on the guests invited. According to IDPs and other guests, after the event they felt they are needed in the society and interesting to other people.