The project Female & Racial Equality Ever (F.R.E.E.)

Natali CihanoğluI’m Natali Cihanoğlu. I’m an English teacher at Sisli Doga Schools. I want to introduce our project Female & Racial Equality Ever (F.R.E.E.).

FREE is a project which promotes equality and same opportunities given to anyone, regardless gender, race and ethnic group, the elimination of racial stereotypes and the spreading of the inclusion of immigrants.

The schools involved are in:

  • Italy (Ladispoli),
  • Turkey (Istanbul),
  • Portugal (Vila Verde),
  • Spain (Alcalà del Valle).

The Portuguese and the Italian schools are both characterised by the presence of many immigrants in their area. The Spanish school is living a situation which is somehow reversed as many students have their parents who work abroad as immigrants in France, so a large part of the students live with their grandparents, experiencing the situation of emigration inside their own family. Turkey is characterized by situations of deep inequality and discrimination towards women.

Our project addressed to pupils of 16 of age as main protagonists; but all the actions involved the whole schools (all pupils and staff), any other school and cultural organisation in the area, the inhabitants in the 4 towns, the immigrants’ communities in the area and our previous European partners. With them we have started a path of cultural growth, working on the dismantle of stereotypes, spread of the ideal of European citizenship in the projects carried on by Italy.

So this work represents the natural evolution of that path towards the respect of human dignity and solidarity, against social exclusion.

Natali CihanoğluTo reach our goals we involved our students in several activities:

  • the 11/25 celebration day against any form of violence against women;
  • a White Night festival celebrating human rights through reading of poems, short stories from international literary heritage;
  • arts and crafts labs;
  • chorus;
  • dances;
  • films with debate afternoon school workshops held by local immigrants’ communities;
  • painting of multicultural murals in public areas;
  • performances with songs, dances, tales from each partner’s country and from immigrants’ cultures;
  • Role Play Activities through which our students will experience the difficulties an immigrant student has to face.

Students produced a historical documentary on the role of women in Roman and Etruscan pasta documentary on modern discrimination and sexist and racial stereotypes; women in literature, science, religion, philosophy, art a “Manual on Good Practices” on how to deal with the immigrant students’ integration and improved their results exhibition on women’s marginalization and gender violence; women’s and immigrant biographies. They saw human diversity as reciprocal enrichments mediation and negotiation especially when in contact with different life styles and habits. They developed the knowledge of the role of women in Roman and Etruscan history; in past history; in literature; in foreign literature; in philosophy; in science; in art; in religion; the knowledge of culture, traditions, customs of foreign partners and immigrant communities. ICT capacities creative capacities, seeing things and events under a new perspective critical capacities recognizing and refusing superficiality and stereotypes a preparation for lifelong learning through independent thinking and learning.

The whole school adopted an inclusive attitude towards the local immigrants communities offering permanently the possibility to make intercultural workshops and other future initiatives. At local level the global mentality became more respectful of both women’s rights and minorities rights. Videoconferences became a usual procedure to share important moments among schools from different areas and countries. 11/25 and White Night became part of the school calendar. To get such an agreement we will go on collaborating with municipality and other schools in the area to a shared template fixing dates to meet in order to organize the 2 events. Multicultural workshops at school will become permanent thanks to an agreement among the school.