Hódmezővásárhely (H) - Tolerance day


16th November is the International Tolerance Day and theHódmezővásárhely Integrated Centre Vocational and Secondary Technical School József Eötvös Head Institution organized an all-day event in the town related to this day. The Government of Hódmezővásárhely, which has been the member of Cittaslow Movement since 2009, offered its assistance in arranging the programme and the initiative of our school was taken up by the local government within the confines of the Movement. Our institution has had a tradition in accepting 'otherness' and volunteering, as a School Tolerance Day was organized in 2010 and our students could do voluntary work among disabled children for three months.
These months enriched the participating students with valuable and positive experiences, so the teachers of our school considered this personality-forming opportunity to be shown to the children learning in the other educational institutions of the town.
The programmes of Tolerance Day began with a conference in the assembly hall of the Town Hall in the morning of 16th November. The aim of this conference was to make the students present get to know their fellow-beings with various detriments and difficulties and this way the emerging solidarity would be changed later with the desire to help. Before the introduction of the educational institutions the students learnt- with the help of two presenters- how many faces 'otherness' could have and how various forms of tolerance could exist.
In the afternoon the programmes continued in the main building of the Hódmezővásárhely Integrated Centre Vocational and Secondary Technical School József Eötvös Head Institution in Szent Antal Street. An especially nice and intimate presentation helped to become attuned to tolerance. One of the former students of our school, who is the founder and the artistic leader of the dance group in wheelchairs, showed the audience together with her partners how to perform a show with artistic values and joyful atmosphere. After the performance students of the schools of our town took part in workshops where they experienced the different faces of 'otherness' and they were able to get closer to accept them. The participants could take part in a drama pedagogy lesson, a presentation of a sign language interpreter, a talk with the performers in wheelchairs, a report of a sportsman from the Paralympics about the connection between sport and disabled people, an analysis of a film with a psychologist about the everyday life of handicapped people, a collective game and doing some handicraft together with disabled children.
The second half of the afternoon meant a playful adventure tour in the colourful world of people with disabilities which was preceded by an amusing and funny scene performed by some disabled children of a local institution. The students in groups of six visited the classrooms in rotation where they could playfully experience what life is like for hearing and visually impaired as well as physically and mentally handicapped people. Every task taught them with laugh as the aim was not to evoke sad or unpleasant feelings but to be more understanding towards the difficulties of the disabled people.
The day ended with the joy of dance and music getting to know the students with one of the most soul-lifting tradition of the Hungarian culture which is dancing together to the tunes of folk music. In the circulation of the folk dance the participants holding the hands of one another could understand how similar we are in spite of our differences.