Belfast Telegraph

Good news story as children's media project fights bigotry

By Brendan McDaid

Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren based in the same Londonderry estate are to become mini journalists as part of a unique new project designed to help tackle sectarianism.

Newbuildings and St Columba’s primary schools will take part in the cross-community initiative using media, creative and interactive activities, as well as discussions to explore sectarianism and promote reconciliation and understanding.

The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) is launching the Headliners Project, Distinctive Voices Collective Choices, with schoolchildren across Northern Ireland through the educative use of media.

The project will run until September 2013 and involves pupils aged between eight and 19.

Nine-year-old Ethan from Newbuildings Primary School gave his views on sectarianism.

“There’s no point in even fighting with each other. They are just wasting their time because they’re just causing chaos in the town and it’s just not fair,” he said.

It is hoped that the methods used will help challenge pre-conceptions of other communities and help ongoing efforts towards the goal of a shared vision and future.

The IFI is providing financial assistance of £230,100 through its Sharing in Education programme.

Speaking after the launch Adrian Johnston, board member of the IFI, said: “Together students will use digital, audio and video equipment, as a journalist would, to tackle issues of sectarianism and conflict.

“All footage created with film, audio and photography will be available online as a tool for further teaching practices.”

Project manager Malachy Kyle said: “The pupils from both schools have already improved their communication, speaking and listening skills, learnt new media skills and grown in confidence as a result.”

Belfast Telegraph


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