Letting go of our attitudes of separateness:
Furugh Switzer left the audience feeling more empathetic towards the Roma children in Hungary. As sociologist, intercultural educator and founder of Unity in Diversity- a program that focuses on disadvantages children and women- she believes literacy and story telling is greatly linked to Empowerment and development of life skills. There are populations living on the fringes of society all over the world. These people are left behind and the majority are living in poverty, despised by society- which creates a cycle that makes it more difficult to escape. What can we do to facilitate a change and encourage integration?
She shared a story and growth a Roma girl named Jazmine whose mother was an illiterate, unable to provide her proper life guidance. With the help of Switzers program, her mother-along with other Roma mothers- learned to read but more importantly, her homework was to read to Jazmin every night. The result? Her mother's parental skills improved and she is now on the road to attaining higher education; and jazmin, watching the change in her mothers role, became more engaged in reading, learning literature and story telling. Her two worlds of school and home were merged together with the wonder of books.
She ended by saying that we need to let go of our attitudes of separateness. If this simple step of mother reading to child can make such a difference, it is unhelpful to continue to blame and accuse them [Roma or others in poverty] of laziness or low intelligent.
"Our separateness is an illusion, we are interconnected parts of the world" - Ervin László