Less prejudice and discrimination thanks to PAX project

Image: Spreker Ismail bij het Roland A. Holst college in Hilversum. Lize Kraan

January 23, 2020

The project The Story of a Refugee helps to reduce prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. This is the conclusion of a study by the Integration and Society Knowledge Platform (KIS).

The results of the KIS study confirm what we already knew at PAX: every time a former refugee tells his or her story, it opens hearts and minds. Or as one of the 10,000 students who heard a story of fleeing from a conflict said, “It’s refreshing to hear the story from the perspective of a refugee and not from the news. I learned a lot.”

Emotions and feelings
The Story of a Refugee project brings a Syrian speaker to high school classrooms throughout the country. In addition to a guest lesson from the Syrian speaker, the students play a Serious Game about the difficult choices that people have to make during wartime. The speaker also engages the class in a discussion. In the publication ‘7 golden tips for anti-discrimination methods in education’ (in Dutch), KIS provides tips on how to combat prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. To that end, KIS looked at The Story of a Refugee. “By telling a story of an experience in which the narrator’s emotions and feelings are discussed, pupils who themselves may not have had to deal with discrimination are more likely to empathize with someone who has been victimized,” the research states. “Teachers report that this gives pupils a very different, more positive and varied picture of refugees: pupils often sympathize with the refugees and conclude that refugees have fled their country for good reason.”

“It touched my heart”
As a result, KIS states that interventions such as The Story of a Refugee are essential to “connect to the experiences and world of young people.” Or as a student said after the lesson, “Your story has touched my heart, I wish you lots of success in the future.”

The Story of a Refugee is a project of PAX and Critical Mass and is supported by the Nationale Postcode Loterij. See www.verhaalvaneenvluchteling.nl for more information.

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