Community development, Human rights

The Rainbow Monster Project

Breaking down harmfully common negative stereotypes about the LGBT in rural communities of South West of Poland

Creators

Who is behind this?

Jarosław Giercarz

Sudeckie Stowarzyszenie Ekorozwoju Green Gate

http://greengate.org.pl

Poland

Who is joining forces?

Idea

Idea pitch

Poland is not an LGBT friendly country, even in a big cities. That is common knowledge. However, few can imagine how difficult it is for sexual minorities to live in the provinces, in the countryside. They can never be themselves, they live all their lives in hiding. At work, in a shop, on a walk with a loved one. They are not considered neighbors, but misfits. But we believe it can be changed, so we must act now!

Where will your project idea take place?

Dolnosląskie and Lubuskie Voivodeship, Poland

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Statistically, Poland is inhabited by 5% of sexual minorities (Dalia Institute of Germany 2020).These people are among us in every community. In big cities they have their representation, they openly fight for their rights, because they know each other and are united. In the countryside, they remain hidden for fear of stigmatization, hatred and even physical attacks. The basis of hatred is ignorance, hardly anyone here has seen a gay with his own eyes and knew about this fact. According to the saying, fear has big eyes and in order to disappear one have to look into the dark room and not be afraid of the rainbow monster. A right atmosphere is needed to be created for LGBT people to help them come out of hiding and prove their worth as important part of societies.

Who are you doing it for?

We are all part of the community and the project works for the common good. Therefore, it will be addressed to both heterosexual and LGBT people. They will meet with an open visor for the first time and together they will take part in various activities. They will get to know each other's talents, opportunities and names. Anonymity will disappear and with it will disappear fear, aversion and the reasons for mutual prejudice.
40 people (10 LGBT) will participate in the project. Due to its nature a larger group would have very big problems with icebreaking and authenticity. They will later become ambassadors of hope for tolerance and a catalyst for a change.

How do you plan to get there?

The main challenge was to invite 10 LGBT people to the project. Not without problems, but we have this brave people ready. They used to take on the role of living books in another region and have gained some self-confidence as a result. We are sure Non-LGBT people will also join: some out of curiosity, others to prove us wrong, the reason is not that important. The aim of the project is to break prejudices and get to know each other. This will be done by multitrack way: for an individual approach, we will divide participants into 5 groups with similar action plan:
1:workshops, where everyone will work together, show their talents and abilities: music, crafts, ecology and nature, cooking (through the stomach to the heart!).
2:inter-workshop tasks: 5 mixed teams independently, but with help and guidance of experienced experts will improve skills of effective verbal and non-verbal communication, self-confidence, cogency, advocacy and acquiring allies.
Having got to know each other, equipped with valuable new competences they will find that they are no different as human beings. In this way, they will become equality ambassadors. They will start a long and difficult path of mutual understanding in a place where there were no such roads at all. The rainbow monster will stop threatening, because it will show its real, human face.

What are the expected results?

We will build a solid base of changes that is very important for the long term aims of the project. Our group at this stage will get rid of mutual prejudices and fear and will prove that it is possible. Now they will begin this process in their families, villages, workplaces and surroundings, because they will know how and why it is worth doing that. The process will certainly be long and difficult. But our project will bring about a change that was previously unthinkable. Each one of us knows about 500 other people. If each one of our group of 40 people can only convince half of them, then 10,000 people will become equality ambassadors, while now there are none. This is a very good start and real hope to finally stop territorial and mental LGBT free zones.

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

Anyone who is unfairly treated and cannot be himself, like small towns and villages LGBT people, is unhappy. He cannot make full use of his abilities, he lives in the shadows and feels rejected, while his neighbors live in hatred and fear. This is spreading quickly to younger generations. Such communities are not a good, happy place to live, not home to progress and harmony. Consciousness change and acceptance of difference is a necessity. Over time, not only wrong behavior will change, but also bad law will be altered.
Then everyone will be able to give much more for a common good, because, as history teaches us, happiness and consent builds, when discord destroys not only hearts and minds, but entire countries.

Why is this idea important to you?

We all born and bred at villages of the region. Because we care for it, we have founded an NGO some years ago. How to run it for the common good we learned in the UK and the Netherlands. With this, we have learned to respect otherness. People who love differently are among ourselves, our families and in our environment. We know how difficult and hopeless it is for them to live in hermetic, small communities. We want to use our modest possibilities end resources to improve this situation and make for them a equal place at the common table.

€ 33200,-

Total budget

€ 24200,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

GRANT:
Cordinator: 350 EUR x 12 months = 4200 EUR
Trainers fees: 5 groups x 6 workshops/group = 30 workshops: 6000 EUR
Workshops materials: 5 groups x 6 workshops/group = 30 workshops: 3000 EUR
Accomodation, food, travel (participants): 10000 EUR
Office supplies: 1000 EUR

OWN CONTRIBUTION:
Rental space for workshops: 5 groups x 6 workshops/group = 30 workshops: 3000 EUR
Assistants/mentors inter - workshops fees: 5 groups x 6 inter - workshops/group = 30 workshops: 6000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are interested in innovations, ideas and good practices in the field of sustainable rural areas development.

Team

greengate.stowarzyszenie@gmail.com

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

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