A FESTIVAL celebrating tolerance and understanding was organised in mid August at the sports complex in the Sásová neighbourhood in the central-Slovak metropolis, Banská Bystrica. Locals were able to watch live music concerts and Roma and Irish dances, as well as taste Russian and Roma cuisine and vegan delicacies.
Community development worker Dorota Martincová told the TASR newswire that the festival was a response to the perception that intolerance and misunderstanding were growing in society.
“We also tried to inform people about the various activities of the civic platform, Nie v Našom Meste [Not in Our City],” Martincová added. “We feel that the best solution to the spread of intolerance is to address it at the local level. Thus, we do it directly in the neighbourhood with people who can participate and who are skilled, and we want to offer them a chance to show how.”
Inhabitants of Sásová struggle with the same everyday problems as those in other housing estates. “Of course, there is anonymity; people often do not know about each other. A lot has been said about intolerance, but we had the feeling that after the last regional election, people often showed their animosity towards certain groups – be it ethnic, or religious. Many people from various groups live here, and through mutual meetings, relations could be improved. Of course, a lot still has to be done, but this festival, too, is the result of the fact that people are interested, want to get involved and make our society a better one,” Martincová of the community centre in Sásová concluded.
22. Sep 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská