Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations team recently organised a Small World’s Café for Council staff from across a range of service areas.
The event was expertly facilitated by members of Belfast Friendship Club and provided a safe space to encounter people from different backgrounds and other parts of the world.
The workshop was an opportunity to get a glimpse into real lives of those who have grown up elsewhere, in a different culture or religious background. Participants learned more about the challenges faced by those living away from family and friends, how it felt to move to Northern Ireland and why people chose to move here.
Staff members found it to be a very worthwhile initiative, with feedback comments including ‘ an excellent worthwhile session’, ‘all staff should partake’ and ‘very informative and helpful for challenging racism’.
Good Relations Manager Patricia Harkin said: “We were delighted that Belfast Friendship Club were able to facilitate this session for Council staff from across the organisation. These sessions are designed to challenge the myths and misconceptions we all may have about asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. The relaxed and interactive approach enabled genuine discussion and dialogue and promoted understanding of equality, good relations and diversity.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations team will be organising a similar session in January 2020 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The HMD 2020 theme ‘Stand Together’ explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression. HMD 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – this is a significant milestone and is made particularly poignant by the dwindling number of survivors who are able to share their testimony. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.
“Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good.” (Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Europe)