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Youth Projects

Being without prejudices

by Dorottya Kontó

My Value:
My own value that inspired this social project is being without prejudices, and to work for decrease prejudice in Hungary, primarily with young people.

In Hungary today young people (and not only young people) have a lot of prejudices against their fellow humans with regards to skin colour, sexual preferences, political views, immigrants, or poor people. And in turn, these people suffer from prejudice based discrimination almost every day.

The goal of my Project:
My project was intended to show the (daily) life of people living in extreme poverty in Hungary to young people, with the goals of sensitizing and promote tolerance.
Method used:
The method I chose is a “living board game” called Sociopoly (www.szociopoly.hu/),
which young people played, meanwhile they received information from me about the facts of living in extreme poverty in Hungary.
In this game anybody can try what social benefit, child benefit, maternity benefit, temporary work salary is enough in a month.

During the game, players go through a typical month (represented by 31 spaces) with rolling dice. Players have to “survive” the month by simulating the living conditions of those who are long-term unemployed (the sums of income and outcome sources are roughly equal to today’s Hungarian circumstances). This game is a pedagogical sensitizing method, and a good opportunity for young people to think through all those questions and (stereotypical) answers that they have or assume about poverty, and to experience these during the game.

In the game, a player plays as a “family”, so a player has to provide for his or her spouse and children as well. Because of this the two most important lesson these young people gained were:
– the attitudes they previously held about poor people are not necessarily based on reality
– the importance of family, and that if you have one, you have to make decision not only for yourself, but you also have to think about how you can support and how much responsibility you have for your family.

The process of conducting the project:
Right at the start I was already sure about doing something playful, and when I heard about this game, I knew this is an ideal choice. After deciding on this, I researched Hungary’s state of poverty with the help of published studies and statistics. Because this is a copyrighted game, with actual props and a carpet-sized playing field, I ordered it from the company.
I was the game master of Sociopoly, so during the game every time the players landed on a space, I discussed that situation with them.
The participants liked it very much, and they were interested in knowing more about the topic and playing with the game.