From 25th of April to the 3rd of May, Besa Ziba attended a training course – “Don’t judge a book by its cover – Empowering youngsters to organize a Human Library“, held in Ommen, the Netherlands. This project was organized by JUB, a youth organization with a vision to promote peace, understanding and co-operation between the young people in a spirit of respect of human rights.
The training course gathered 26 participants from EU and non EU countries of Europe, with different experience in youth work assessment, to discuss, share and to learn how to organize a Human Library. Four professional trainers guided the learning process. The methodology was based on non-formal education with energizers, brainstorm, group work, discussions, etc.
The training focused on Human Rights Education and Deconstructing Human Library, in a detailed way. It started with getting to know each other with activities to have a better working atmosphere in the diverse group. During the training there was a Study visit in Amsterdam, where the group attended a real Human Library organized by the Organization “De Mensenbieb”, in the Central Public Library, Amsterdam. They also were celebrating the 10th anniversary of existing so we had the chance to ask and get lots of information about their work and experience.
The Human Library is a unique event, aiming to bring people into contact with each other, with the idea to break down stereotypes and prejudices. It is an innovative method, designed to promote dialogue, to challenge prejudices and to encourage understanding. It is a public event, where interested people can come to challenge their prejudices. The idea is to have a conversation with a Human Book: a person who has experienced prejudices due to issues such as sex, age, disability, sexual preference, gender identity, class, background, and religion/belief or lifestyle choices. The reactions and responses of visitors and books themselves were very positive, expressing that the event has a real impact. More information can be found on the official website: www.humanlibrary.org.
One of the participants from Macedonia, Besa, thinks that she has an idea and relevant information about how to organize a Human Library in Macedonia:
“I applied for this project because I never heard before about the Human Library, so I thought it will be interesting for me to learn something completely new. I didn’t think I would love it that much. After the training I feel so ready to organize one here in Macedonia. I know it will be very difficult in a society like ours to find Human books, but let’s hope that in cooperation with other NGOs we are going to find them.
Beside the program, Netherlands is an amazing place and Dutch people rock. It was the first time for me to visit the country so I did enjoy it a lot. The group was so diverse, it gave me opportunity to meet new cultures and I do have lots of new friends now.”