He-ART Empathy&Ethnic Tolerance
The organisation “Izlez” has a project for restoring youth empathy. The programme He-ART Empathy&Ethnic Tolerance is a new approach in solving cultural issues.
About Your Organization
"Izlez" ("Way Out")
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit / NGO / Citizen sector organization
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Idea (you're poised to launch)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Lately, Macedonian youth has witnessed general education dissatisfaction and ethnic intolerance. The main generator to this tension is the lack of empathy and true democracy. I propose we solved this by a project that will cover formal education of high school and college students from different ethnic background; children with physical disability education.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
This project requires a leap of faith but a leap backwards to locate the cause that made empathy perish altogether; the lack of creativity and art. It is a backward leap into an active dialogue with the artistic past. Hence, it is a leap into a better future through creative writings. Our solution to the given problem is that people can restore empathy through literature, poetry, short stories and drama dealing with the issues of intolerance and inclusiveness that existed in the past. Moreover, current literature works dealing with the same issues will inspire people to see other people’s point of view in a subtle, but more effective way.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
A typical example of how creative writings can bring about real change is the following:
-a group of people explore the short story “Angel Levine” by Bernard Malamud that deals with racism, ethnic and religious issues and at the same time gives a positive idea about each which by analogy is positive reinforcement for people. Moreover, the group will then turn to exploring a story written on the topic of ethnic intolerance in Macedonia. Thus, the issue can be considered from a closer perspective. The idea of the story does not suspend reality but provides objective standpoint for discussion and solutions.
Primary activities will be based on artistic works, which we named “mirroring activities”, e.g. Beckett’s play Ohio Impromptu (purpose: restoring empathy) through an activity that involves Reader, Listener, Audience, some of which appear in Beckett’s play.
-narrative inquiry among participants resulting in creative stories to be published in our student magazine;
-analysing best photographs on ethnic tolerance chosen on a competition;
-analysing best creative stories/biographies of current writers from upcoming literature competition;
-role plays of critical situations led by experienced amateur actors;
-transforming best role plays into videos to raise awareness for tolerance
-audio & visual activities;
-oral & silent debates
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
There have existed several NGOs dealing with the issues of higher education; non-formal education; helping the disabled; promoting ethnic tolerance and the future of the youth in Macedonia. In our opinion, these NGOs would not pose a challenge to our work, but rather benefit by it for our project purports new dimensions, interdisciplinarity and restoring empathy through narrative inquiry and creative writings which has not been put in practise so far. Thus, the proposed project entails collaboration with specific NGOs, by providing the opportunity of carrying out workshops at settings which are most appropriate for a given target group, for example a facility for children with physical disabilities, in which case visits will be arranged by our activists.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
The NGO “Izlez” has a restoring youth empathy project. He-ART Empathy&Ethnic Tolerance offers a new cultural issues solving approach.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
The interdisciplinary approach which blends art & creative writing with education & ethnic issues through an active narrative inquiry.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
The work of the NGO “Izlez” has so far proven its impact by being able to organise a mass of students to work together for the same cause, bettering the quality of higher education. However, the original group of people has now grown in number and it has nourished diversity since seeking only after efficient & enthusiastic volunteers. Hence, the following impact has been made: the publication of the six issues of the magazine; debates on the topic ‘student=intellectual’ and ‘volunteerism’; the ‘English E-library’ project; the six successful literature competitions supported by renowned Macedonian authors; participation in Sarajevo workshop for Balkan ethnic tolerance which has been the milestone for the proposed project of relearning empathy that we would like to develop in Macedonia.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
We hope to raise the awareness of the calming effect creativity and art can have in education and social life. In so doing, we would bring the interdisciplinary approach of learning through the arts in Macedonian education and thus make space for a healthy dialogue concerning ethnic intolerance. Tolerance can only be brought about if education is comfortable, creative and inclusive enough. We expect that in three years time, higher education will offer a greater range of courses; elementary schools will take ethnic instruction of young children more seriously; disabled children will get the opportunity of formal education.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Since relearning empathy and establishing peaceful relationships among the different ethnic groups in Macedonia is a very delicate and as of late, a palpable problem, hindrance such as libelling and discrimination towards the project may appear which will be dealt by experienced conflict resolving activists in a peaceful way. Moreover people may feel discouraged to participate in workshops with mixed ethnic groups, but the call will be made by renowned writers from different nationalities and the trainers themselves will be of different nationalities, which will set a positive example regarding participation.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
-Pupils of different ethnicity will have the chance to explore and test their artistry and work together for peaceful living;
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
The organisation will run a photography & literature competition on the topic of ethnic tolerance and empathy
The organisation will administer 12 workshops & cooperate with two high schools and one college in Skopje;
The organisation will publish the creative work and outcome of the workshops in its forthcoming magazine issues;
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
-The project will break the ethnic stereotypes among most fragile groups and gradually spread its influence among Macedonian you
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
narrative inquiry with high school and college students & establishing active media support for the activities;
narrative inquiry with children with physical disabilities and promoting their stories in a creative way to trigger tolerance an
creating short videos based on the workshop experience and providing quality marketing for the same.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
As a teacher and artist I have worked with different students’ groups and assessed their ethnic attitudes. I have also worked together with different ethnicities on ethnic tolerance. Having experienced, in a way, the ‘otherness’ by being a Vlach I felt even more driven to explore this subject in my writings which I shared with the founder of the organisation Daniela and my colleague editor Zorica. Having considered this and some of my students’ written opinions regarding Macedonian worsening ethnic situation we have realised that the time has come when empathy is highly needed among younger generations. Hence, we immediately shunned ‘in your face’ propagation of the good values and grasped a subtle but effective approach, creativity and art.
Tell us about your partnerships
The organisation has so far established links with the youth initiative ‘Balkans let’s get up’ by participating in the Sarajevo workshop and has also collaborated with the NGO “Detelinka” which is concerned with the education of children with physical disabilities. However, the organisation plans to develop the collaboration with “Cvetan Dimov” school established through the completion of several workshops for ethnic tolerance and establish new relationships with one of the high schools and colleges in the capital.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
The volunteers ready to work on this project are not only teachers but sensitive and understanding human beings. Most of them have had experience with working with students from different ethnicities, not only during classes, but workshops as well. Moreover, some of the volunteers are art practitioners themselves in the field of literature, amateur acting and professional photography.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
The organisation would be very grateful if this project could get some financial aid regarding the administration of twelve workshops. Hence, an amount of around 700 US dollars to cover the essential expenses including travel costs and necessary material would be of great help.