We are equal but different

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Intercultural youth exchange with Tanzania

In August, the human rights organisation Hope Human Rights e.V. was able to offer a group of young people from Constance the unique opportunity to take part in a two-week cultural exchange with an art school for dance and music (MUDA) in Tanzania. The project was led by Tanja Jäckel, Kerstin Schulze and Andreas Baur, funded by Engagement Global with funds from the BMZ under the Worldwide Encounters funding line (weltwaerts)  . The aim of the project is to work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Agenda 30 “Quality Education” and thus also to initiate sustainable development of education on an interpersonal level, far away from the school or university system.

Even though the exchange had been planned for almost a year and a half and the young people had many images in their heads beforehand, the impressions and emotions on site were overwhelming. Arriving in one of the poorest countries in the world, the young people were overwhelmed by the love of life, peacefulness and friendliness of the locals.

“You’re standing in a completely foreign country and yet you have the feeling that you’ve arrived,” says one of the participants. The openness and joy was immediately transferred from the Tanzanians to the people of Constance, which made the noise and hustle and bustle of Dar es Salaam fade away. Initial insecurities during the first encounter with the dancers of the MUDA art school of the Nafasi Art Space were quickly overcome by the warmth of the counterpart. Language barriers could be overcome through dance collaboration. “The impressions we got into the culture, way of life and mentality, also through our partners, were priceless and formative in many ways. Being there, working with the people, learning from and with each other was one of the most intense and certainly one of the happiest times I have experienced in a long time” writes one participant. Together they created a performance that dealt with the topic of education in an artistic way in the form of music, dance and theatre. The journey stimulated a wide variety of thought-provoking impulses among the young people from Constance. Topics such as sustainable living, food waste, environmental protection and material abundance were also reflected upon.

This learning process, which was started in Tanzania, has been intensified once again. At the beginning of October 2019, the artist group from Tanzania visited Constance for a fortnight. Here, too, a performance was developed together that dealt with the topic of education in an artistic way in the form of music, dance and theatre. For the young Tanzanians, topics such as environmental protection and gender equality became a formative experience during their stay in Constance.