“We assume that Serbians are different because we never give them a chance to prove otherwise.”
Delvina, an 11-year-old girl from Kosovo and PLAY International participant, had unknowingly put her finger on a common human fear. This fear of the “other” is a powerful force that can affect individuals, communities and societies. Once established, this fear creates a cycle that is difficult to break, passing from generation to generation, sowing the seeds of discrimination and division.
PLAY International opened its mission in Kosovo 2002 to help break that cycle and give people a safe space to rediscover the things that unite, rather than divide them. Our work in the Western Balkans continues to prove that prejudice, discrimination and fear lose their power when people are given the opportunity to meet as individuals and learn what they have in common. We see every day that sport and play provide a unique opportunity to sow positive seeds for a more hopeful future.
Every year, on 13 October, we bring together more than 150 youth volunteers and children from diverse communities to celebrate the work they have done to fight against discrimination. We are proud to partner with these young people as they lead change in their communities and inspire those around them. They are powerful proof of the role young people have to play in overcoming fear and prejudice in society. It was because of this work of PLAY International and our young volunteers that Delvina was able to finish her thought on this optimistic note: “we accept our differences and discover our similarities to live better together.”