Help us to overcome prejudices and lower racism!
Welcome to Bridging Gaps e.V.!
Bridging Gaps is a young association seeking to start conversations on everyday racism. We seek to support the cause for an equal society by asking critical question on societal structures as well as designing specific activities which seek to unravel the complexities of our society. Bridges camp is pioneered by young people, who are active in different cities within these two countries: South Africa and Germany. We are always happy to meet new creative and motivated supporters!
Where? South Africa
Why? Apartheid was a thoroughly racist societal system and its effects can still be felt in South African today two decades into the democraric dispensation. Racial segregation is still embedded in the mindset of many South Africans, in both the older as well as the younger generation. In our opinion, this topic must be discussed and worked upon openly for this nation to be able to overcome this trauma. To the associations’ German members this topic is of particular concern, as they have done a voluntary service in South Africa through which they developed a personal connection to the country and its people.
How? Our association’s founder, Juliane Hoss, developed Bridges Camps, a project that started in January 2014. The camps bring together young people from different parts of South African society for a week. By using friendship and common experiences as a tool, they are made aware of the topic on racism and are granted a platform to discuss Its complexities in an open atmosphere. By engaging with other young people, they often learn for the first time to understand the perspective of others, who are affected by their societies’ history in a different way. Former camp participants stay connected to Bridging Gaps, receive a training to become facilitators at the camp and learn more about our topics through weekend-workshops. It is our long-term goal to establish scholarship program to support them individually to receive a higher education.
Who? Motivated former Bridges Camp participants as well as students and young professionals from Pretoria are the main contributors to our association’s work in South Africa. From time to time, German volunteers support them.
Why? Even though racism often does not seem to be a topic of general concern in the German society when compared to South Africa, we are convinced that more awareness towards this topic is needed. We are not only concerned when we hear about violent xenophobic attacks. We believe, that also small, un-intended everyday occurrences lead to an unequal society where people, who are perceived as different by the majority in society, are put at a disadvantage. These occurrences and discriminating factors are what we want to discuss with society by asking questions like: What is racism? Where does it come from? How is it being transported?
How? Regional groups in different cities meet on a regular basis, to discuss our topic and plan new activities. For example, we designed a photo exhibition with critical statements on the topic of everyday racism, which was then exhibited in different locations. Another big success was our documentary, which included Black people in Germany who shared their everyday experiences connected to racism. In our future work, we want to concentrate on creating awareness on our topic among young people. At the same time, we plan to be open to what is happening around us and start different activities in our respective cities, in order to share our concerns with our fellow citizens.
Who? Students and professionals in Constance, Potsdam, Leipzig, Nuremberg – and maybe also in your city sometime soon!
- Itsoseng Clinic, University of Pretoria
- University of Constance (Office for Equal Opportunity and Family Affairs)
- VEUK – Alumni Association of the University of Constance
- Foundation German Volunteering
- Finalists for the social engagement prize awarded by the German National Academic Foundation 2017 [„weitergeben – Engagementpreise der Studienstiftung“]
- Participants United Nations Association of Germany [DGVN] youth freedom prize [Jugendfriedenspreis]
- Fair Changemaker prize [Fairwandlerpreis] awarded by the Karl Kuebel Foundation, November 2016
- Filipas Engel Honour Award 2016
- Baden-Wuerttemberg Foundation: Best-Practice-Example for international solidarity 2015