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Distorted Realities
Start date: Jan 1, 2011,

Main focus of the study visit is anti-discrimination and work with target groups that face social stigmatization. Project is called Distorted Realities because stigma could be defined as the process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity. Stigma is linked to construction of stereotypes, to oversimplified beliefs about characteristics and differences of some particular social groups, and leads to separation of labeled persons into distinct groups, and disapproval, rejection, exclusion, and discrimination. It is a process when distorted knowledge causes violations of human rights and deepens social problems. Main aim of this project is to explore concept of social stigma, gain better understanding about mechanisms of stigmatization and exchange experiences, best practices and tools that can be used to combat and remove stigmas. During nine days 20 youth workers from Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania will visit several Macedonian towns and organizations working with groups that tend to be stigmatized - rape victims, sex workers, people living with HIV, people with mental illnesses, Roma people, LGTB community and drag users - and have discussions with experts and their clients. Visits and case studies will be combined with partnership building and intercultural learning activities, and sessions about Youth in Action as a tool for combating social exclusion.
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