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THE TOLERANCE PROJECT

A media campaign to combat prejudice against Romani.

WHAT IS THE TOLERANCE PROJECT ABOUT?
The Tolerance Project is a media campaign which has as primary goal to stimulate a public debat on racial violence and discrimination in the Czech Republic against Romani .

Since 1989 the position of Roma got worse. Housing is bad. Education policy has contributed to the fact that almost no Roma kids get any further than basic-school. Half of orphans are Roma. The splitting of Czecho-Slowakia had dramatic concequences for many Roma. Ten-thousands of them are now stateless, because government refuses to acknowledge them as Czech citizens. Non of both countries is in fact willing to accept them. This longlasting stalemate has led to distrust, fear and apathy among Roma. In the last years at least 25 Roma have been killed by violence based on racial motivs. Regularly, the Czech press reports of violent attacks of youth, often skinheads. These violent attacks are not wholeheartedly condemned and even sometimes tolerated by many Czechs. Anti-Romani prejudices are widespread and the marginal socio-economic status of many Romani only further enhances persisting cliches.

THE TOLERANCE PROJECT IS A REACTION

This campaign is organised by one individual: Juul Hondius. In 1994 he came for a period of six months to the Czech Republic to work and study as a photographer. During this period he decided to undertake action against the widespread discrimination of Roma. This campaign is a reaction on the extreme situation of Roma in a society were they are not wanted, but do belong.

With the help of many people;interpretors & local contactpersons, he travelled along different Czech cities to make many photoportraits of Roma. Young & old, and poor & rich, trying to show all existing variation in Roma's social status. While photographing he tried to avoid to show the actual circumstances of 'their' surrounding; he prefers to show real faces of real people, The context of their reality today should not be mixed up with romantic stereotypes of the wandering happy gypsy tramp.

in the way we see in many existing reportages.

THE POSTERS

The majority of Czech citizens prefers to ignore the Roma, some would even prefer the Roma dissapear. Juul Hondius decided to fight this ignorance by making Roma visible on the streets of Prague.

He made a selection from the many portraits and added thought-provoking texts to them.

These posterdesigns where blown up to very large seizes; from 1.5m.x 2m. up to 4 x 5 meter

Now, more than two years later, the photograhps are finally covering the walls in the city of Prague.

As a follow-up project of the campaign, the posters will be photographed again being they are taken down, in order to document any positive and/or negative responses to this media-campaign. In this way, the feed-back of the Prague population can be documented. Here can you see the results:

Author: Juul Hondius




Juul Hondius isn't organising this campaign as a representative of The Netherlands, but as a independent individual.



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