A number of schools have received important lessons in diversity through Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations Team.
The ‘Exploring Cultural Diversity Programme’ took place over four weeks, with one session coinciding with Anti Bullying Week and its theme ‘Change Starts with Us’.
Working with facilitators from Building Community Resource Centre, Causeway Multicultural Forum, Inter Ethnic Forum and China Connections, school pupils explored a range of cultures including Bulgarian, Chinese and Indian, with additional sessions on Polish culture still to come.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Sean Bateson said: “We are delighted with the support received to date from the participating schools for this new and innovative Good Relations Programme supported by the Executive office, through the Together: Building a United Community Strategy and Council. The level of engagement, interaction and curiosity of the pupils demonstrates their eagerness to hear and learn more about different cultures and how we can all celebrate difference and respect diversity.”
The key messages of this year’s Anti Bullying Week are:
· Bullying is still a serious issue
· We are all responsible
· A small change can make a big difference
· Change starts now.
· All forms of bullying are wrong.
According to the Northern Ireland Anti-bullying Forum, over the past two decades our society has become increasingly ethnically diverse. Information from the 2011 census shows that about 2% of the population is from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) background. The NIABF highlights that it is important that we help our children and young people to understand diversity in our communities and in our schools, and to be respectful of it. Department of Education research has also shown that 38% of pupils in Year 6 and 63% of pupils in Year 9 still feel that a person’s skin colour can make them more likely to experience bullying.
The programme will continue in January and February 2020 with additional schools due to take part.