Young people are actively forming their identities. They want to be unique, but fear nothing more than exclusion by their peers. They feel most at home with kindred spirits who share their clothing style, faith, and cultural background. At school, however, they must work with peers who have different opinions, backgrounds, or beliefs, and that can cause friction. Few people are truly able to meet others with a completely open mind. At school, preconceptions can lead to exclusion and bullying. In extreme cases, prejudices can turn into fear and hatred, which can escalate into discrimination and violence. Ultimately, this can make young people feel completely miserable at school or even in society.
Through its traveling exhibit Expeditie VRIEND&VIJAND (FRIEND&FOE Expedition), Critical Mass wants to increase social safety in schools. Working with educational institutions, the organization hopes to combat clique formation, bullying, and exclusion. Toward that end, Critical Mass has developed an interactive exhibit on topics including prejudice, bullying, exclusion, and conflict escalation.
The exhibit consists of five connected shipping containers equipped with meeting areas. Groups of students explore different aspects of social safety. Games, confrontations, and conversations led by specialized trainers make young people aware of their own views, attitudes, and behavior and of the consequences thereof. Ultimately, Critical Mass hopes that Expeditie VRIEND&VIJAND will teach students how to engage constructively with diversity and conflict at school and in society. The goal is to reach 8,500 students each year.
Adessium Foundation is supporting Critical Mass’s activities as part of our commitment to help create a respectful society. Our support enables the organization to develop the Expeditie VRIEND&VIJAND exhibit and make it available to schools. Because the exhibit is mobile, schools throughout the Netherlands can pay a visit.
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