It is universally known that prejudicial beliefs and acts of discrimination are more prevalent when anonymity is maintained. By individualizing Roma persons, our hope is to help begin a journey of understanding. One way we seek to do this is through the Just Like Us Photography Project.
“Just Like Us” Photography Project
Helping Roma youth become involved in an immersive learning photography project is a critical step in connecting majority populations with the concerns of the Roma, as well as an opportunity to allow these youth a deep and meaningful educational experience.
How it works
Through the use of photography, Roma Learning to Fly trains and encourages Roma youth to document their world from their point of view.
As part of this project, photography training is given to each young person involved in the current project group. After the training, each young person is provided with a camera and sent out to document their world.
After a period of time for the young persons to take and collect the photographs, a debrief takes place so that the child’s story can be transcribed.
Do not judge us by the cover (our outlook) but by the inside” – Nella, Roma youth involved in first-year cohort
I feel different, because I am a Roma” – Desko, Roma youth involved in first-year cohort
The ultimate goal of this project is to reduce prejudice and the cultural barrier between Roma and the majority populations of their nations.
First-year results – 2014/2015
After the first year of involvement in this immersive learning photography project, the Roma youth who participated had their photographs premiere in gallery showings in three locations: Kosice, Banská Bystrica, and Bratislava.
The young people invited special members of their family to attend with them at the showing in Bratislava. This in-person experience was a very important component of this project.
These gallery showings have two purposes: the first being the opportunity for the children to tell their story, and the second, the opportunity for members of the majority populations in Slovakia to relate and identify with the Roma.
I struggle because the majority do not take me as a peer” – Desko, Roma youth in first-year cohort
After the first year of Just Like Us, project team leaders from Roma Learning to Fly have noted significant increased exposure across the people groups and cultural classes, which we believe will lead to real and lasting perception changes.
Roma Learning to Fly is currently forming the next cohort of the Just Like Us Photography Project. We are looking forward to the new perspectives we can share.
My wish is to not have the prejudices…I’m proud about my nationality” – Kristina, Roma youth in first-year cohort
If you would like to learn more about the Just Like Us Photography Project or see how you can help, please contact us.
More projects by Roma Learning to Fly: