We are delighted to share a blog written by Kleopatra Efstathiou & Mary Isabelle Tanousis, students from The Grammar School in Nicosia, Cyprus, who are part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2019-20 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
The destruction of the walls that lock us in is not an easy feat. Many people build these walls to protect themselves and their families from something unfamiliar to them. Our mission this year is to slowly chip away at some of these walls that society has built and help let people with cultural and racial differences in. This project is very close to home for us as some of our team members and coordinators are immigrants themselves. For this reason, we know the struggles and the hardships that one might face when coming into a new society firsthand.
Our project is focusing on children, teenagers and adults who have immigrated to Cyprus, and more specifically, any member of our community who might face a variety of prejudices. However, these walls that we, as a society, have built against people who are from different cultural backgrounds aren’t the only problem. We are also focusing on expanding opportunities for migrants and helping them adjust to a new culture.
This week, our first goal is to design posters, start a blog and create a logo to help advertise our cause to our school and community.
We have developed many skills so far including teamwork, adaptability, organization and communication. We had to communicate to be able to design cohesive posters as well as compromise in creating a powerful logo that we all like. We consistently had to work as a team and be organized to set dates to meet outside of school and get work done. We have all learned that we are a much more creative team than we had previously thought because we were able to create beautiful and powerful designs to advertise our cause.
We believe our biggest challenge is to be make people question their past prejudices and be more open to hearing an opinion that is not their own. We hope that by meeting new people, holding bazaars and giving speeches, we can change people’s perceptions about the migrant community around them. However, every challenge we face and every activity we take part in shapes us not only as students but also as active members of a more diverse society.
The Next Chapter
As a team we would strongly encourage our peers to engage in similar projects and help the wider community develop stronger bonds with immigrants thus easing their integration into our society. Whether it be sitting down with a new classmate or helping your new neighbor with taking out their trash. there are many ways in which we can welcome people into our society. We have great confidence in our generation’s ability to become aware of the issue through education and to use their drive to learn and empathize. We intend to enforce these practices through our project, hoping it will minimize prejudice. Migrants will, in turn, join us on our journey to help the Cypriot society to see migrants not as foreigners, but as people.
The 2019-20 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2020. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.