Journalism, Youth participation and empowerment

The Invisible Children

Giving a voice to “invisible” children by teaching them to express themselves creatively through digital storytelling, thus breaking myths about their community and creating a more inclusive society.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Sonja Merljak Zdovc

Zavod Časoris

https://casoris.si/

Slovenia

Who is joining forces?

Medobčinsko društvo prijateljev mladine za Goriško (MDPM za Goriško; eng. Friends of Youth for Goriska region)

https://www.zpm-novagorica.si

Slovenia


Idea

Idea pitch

In Nova Gorica, the growing Albanian community is living behind high walls. This affects their children who do not hang out with their peers. To build a bridge between communities, we will invite Albanian and Slovenian children to share their stories on TikTok. They will discuss their similarities and differences, learn to express themselves through digital storytelling and debunk cultural myths. By shining a light on them we will boost their confidence and help them accept each other’s culture.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project will address children from Nova Gorica region, western Slovenia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

One of the largest Albanian communities in Slovenia is living in Nova Gorica region. The main societal challenge is the current situation where Albanians, particularly adults, are secluded and lacking proper communication with Slovenian community. In order to help them integrate and build relationships with Slovenian individuals, we will teach their children together with Slovenian children how to express themselves creatively through social media and introduce them to media literacy techniques. This way we will debunk community-related stereotypes from both sides (e. g. Slovenians being cold and unfriendly, Albanians being interested only in their circle of friends) and break the communication and social barrier present between the two cultures.

Who are you doing it for?

As of fall 2020, Nova Gorica already has the fifth largest community of permanent Kosovar residents (611) and the sixth largest community of temporary ones (468) in Slovenia.
Albanian speaking students are attending three primary schools: OŠ Milojke Štrukelj (18), OŠ Ivana Roba Šempeter pri Gorici (23) and OŠ Renče (10). We will also include Slovenian children to create a mixed group of participants. This way children from both communities will work together and hopefully develop new friendships through a joint project and common interests.
We will try to involve at least 10 students from each school as our primary target group.
Our secondary target group are children’s parents. We will need to persuade them that our activity will help their children to better integrate.

How do you plan to get there?

In fall of 2021 we will launch the project. Firstly we will approach headmasters and teachers to investigate the best options to organize the workshops in their schools and motivate the children to join them. With help of social workers, a meeting with parents will be organized (together with an Albanian translator) to inform them about the project and get approval for their children’s participation.
In winter and spring of 2022 we will organize a half-a-day seminar and at least five 90-minutes workshops on topics such as social media, TikTok, multiculturalism, media literacy and digital storytelling. Around 30 children aged 10-14 will attend. We will give them instructions on how to make Tiktok videos. The first seminar at MDPM za Goriško will start with a warm-up social game, which will break the ice between the participants. We will give them the first questionnaire about their views and self-observations. We will continue with lessons on media literacy, digital storytelling and practices from multiculturalism and integration projects.
Once the workshops start, we will publish participants’ content on our platforms for wider reach. Hopefully, people from other communities will be able to learn something from it.
In June 2022 we will organize a final event where we will present our activities and children’s stories. The participants will fill out the second questionnaire.

What are the expected results?

With our activities we will show the local community that children from different countries are not that different and that it is the adults’ responsibility to engage more and better in order to offer them a safe space to spread their wings.
At least 30 children will be directly involved in our workshops and at least 100 children will be exposed to their content on TikTok.
We expect that in each school the percentage of children aware of stereotypes regarding the other community will grow by at least 20 percent.
We will measure this awareness with a survey before and after the project.
With the attractive approach to dissemination of the project’s key messages we will also reach children who are not hearing about diversity and integration activities in schools.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

By developing their digital storytelling and media literacy and by giving a voice to Albanian children on our social media and platforms (newspaper Časoris), we will shine the light on their achievements, boost their self-confidence and even empower them to become better informed and more active citizens.
Participating children will learn about the concepts of multiculturalism, diversity and integration in an innovative and playful way and thus eventually themselves have the courage to play a bigger role in their group, class, school, community and local environment.
The Invisible Children project will also increase the acceptance and respect of different nationalities and ethnic groups, refugees and migrants and thus promote a more diverse, tolerant, and vibrant civil society.

Why is this idea important to you?

Časoris, Information and Education Institute, is an award-winning non-profit media organization. The institute publishes the online newspaper for children Časoris, casoris.si, and develops and implements media literacy workshops and tools. The project team will include the editor-in-chief editor dr. Sonja Merljak Zdovc, the senior reporter Sandra Hanžič, and the video director Anže Sobočan.
MDPM za Goriško is a non-governmental organization with a well-developed know-how for working with children and socially deprived families, running debates, organizing workshops and youth camps on topics of: active citizenship, accepting diversity, intercultural dialogue, social skills. Katarina Otrin and Nastasja Minja will be the expert associates involved in the project.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- 30,000 personnel costs (editor, writers, directors, workshop leaders, local project managers);
- 2,000 promotion and public relations;
- 2,000 office expenses;
- 1,000 travel expenses.

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would be glad to hear how we could either improve our project or any of its supporting activities like marketing, promotion, funding opportunities, project presentation.

Team

Časoris

Katarina

Idea created on April 24, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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