Something like this had never happened before at Pestalozzi Highschool: Students and refugees sitting together at tables in the gym and learning German. The sun shines on bright faces and Clara Schindler folds her arms in a pleased manner. The “Tolerance Day” was a huge success.
The ABC-tables for learning German were one of many stations that Clara and her classmate Florens Ulbrich organised for their large-scaled project. “The state of Saxony provides way to less information about the topics of flight and asylum in the curriculum”, the two 19-year olds complain. That is why they organised a project day at their schools on the issues of and integration and the causes and routes of flight in 2016.
Getting active against the resistance of the school management
In the beginning the resistance amongst the school management and parts of the teaching staff still was big. But the teenagers stuck with their idea. They knew: “Only a good concept could persuade them.” So they looked for expert knowledge from associations, social education workers and the staff of the Technical University of Dresden. In cooperation a diverse program with workshops and presentations came into being. One affected person should tell the story of his family’s flight. arche noVa provided three workshops for 20 students each. The ABC-tables were planned as the highlight of the day. This eventually convinced the skeptical principal to agree to the project.
The big day came: The program addressed students from grade 9 to 11. All together around 270 young people attended the event. They arranged their own personal day out of the provided offers. Everything went according to the plan and the feedback at the school was very positive.
One year has passed since then. Florens has begun his studies and Clara is working as a volunteer in a Social Year. “Looking at it later it is pretty crazy that we were able to get it worked out just by us two”, the young woman says now. In the beginning it was just an idea like “What would be, if…?”. Support from the school didn’t exist. Only the encouragement of arche noVa’s staff gave them the final push into the right direction, she tells. In the end it was a huge success and so Global Learning had finally arrived at their school.
Handing over the idea of the "Tolerance Day" to the next grades
Topics that seemed so far away were directly integrated into the students’ daily life and so became concrete. With their lasting commitment, Clara and Florens have shown that by believing in your own ideas much can be achieved. Their idea of a “Tolerance Day” continues to live on. In summer 2017 another theme day had taken place, this time organised by the by-now senior classes. Florens and Clara hope for the teachers being finally wholly convinced, so they could support their students better in working at such projects and believing in them.