Year 9 pupils from Ballymoney have taken part in a ‘Smart World Shared Education’ project.
Organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Building Communities Resource Centre, the school children engaged in a series of workshops over the course of four days.
270 pupils from Ballymoney High School, Our Lady of Lourdes and Dalriada worked together on a variety of subjects including diversity in Northern Ireland, identity and stereotyping / prejudice, our shared history, Fair Trade and Recycling around the world, Brexit and the impact on Northern Ireland and Shared Space / Inclusion.
The project is one of a number of initiatives designed to address the findings of a Council community audit. The audit indicated that there was a need for more educational programmes about cultural differences to challenge myths and stereotypes of those different to ourselves, and to provide more opportunities to bring young people from different backgrounds together.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Brenda Chivers, said: “The ‘Smart World Shared Education’ schools’ project is an initiative that actively promotes positive community relations for our school children.
“It not only allows friendships to be made, but encourages trust and understanding between young people from different backgrounds. It is important not to underestimate the potential of having our young people engaged in bringing the community together.”
Marie-Louise McClarey, Manager of Building Communities Resource Centre, added: “Along with Council, our staff are passionate about getting young people from a mix of different schools to interact directly and engage on topics of global diversity.
“We discussed issues such as plastic waste and shared facts like 100% of the oceans turtles have ingested plastic. We talked about our identity and personal difference and uncovered diversity in the natural world and global cultural difference.
“We looked at history and knowledge of local history and how it defines who we are and we even planned a shared space for people of different backgrounds. The young people were fantastic and willingly took part in each day of the programme.”
This project has received financial support from The Executive Office and Community Relations Council.