Published in


HEARTools Publication of NGO’s local actions related to human rights & art

Learn how NGOs & social workers can support human rights promotion by art related actions — the results of HEARTools project and couple strong examples of social actions that took place (and will take place) in Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Armenia, Ukraine and other countries.

Quick introduction to HEARTools training for NGOs — objectives & participants

The goal of the HEARTOOLS training for Youth NGO Workes, which took place in 2021 in Poland, was to equip non-governmental organizations with skills and inspirations that help carry out activities promoting human rights with different forms of art.

HEARTools project was funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

and in it’s ‘2021 edition 27 people from 9 European countries took part in.

NGOs that participated in the HEARTools were:

What did they manage to did? Let’s check it out.

Local human rights promotion inspired and supported by the HEARTools project

I. Debate on “The role of street art in public space and vandalism”

The date when it was carried out: November 29, 2021

Where it was done: In Poland, Poznań, in the Garden of Lazarus in the inconspicuous passage between the blocks of Klaudyna Potocka 39/41, where exists pro-human rights murall

Who were the participants/who was involved in creating it:

The conversation was moderated by Kamila Lenczewska, trainer and president of CIM Horyzonty, a Polish NGO operating since 1996 for the protection of human rights.

The guest were:

  • Janusz Heller, Manager of the “Krąg” Housing Association of the Grunwald Housing Cooperative. He has been associated with Lazarus district for over thirty years. The originator, organizer and chairman of the Organizing Committee of the biggest district festival in Poznań — Lazarus Days.
  • Dominik Dziedzina from MURALL studio, who designed the mural and made it with youth workers,
  • and Florentyna Macioszczyk, an anti-discrimination educator, who also creates murals on the same topic.

The idea of the action:

The meeting took place under a mural promoting human rights that was created during the Erasmus Plus international training “What’s’Art” in 2018, and lately, in 2021 was destroyed by unknown perpetrators. The mural (you can view it HERE) introduced the history of human rights struggles from the 1960s to the present day.

During the debate, the participants talked about the idea of ​​the mural itself — about human rights, and possible reasons why it was destroyed. The topic of dialogue conducted by art in space was also raised.

An important issue is that, thanks to the CIM Horyzonty initiative, the mural will be fully renovated in June 2022.

Link to the video with debate: https://fb.watch/cPp1CzopUG/

II. The mural of peace

The dates when it was carried out: 26–29 April, 2022

Where it was done: Strefa DoWolności, Poznań, Poland

Who were the participants/ who was involved in creating it: children & teenagers from Ukraine that migrated to Poznań because of the current war Russia-Ukraine and a muralist from Chile with an experience of migration, Pau Quintanajornet.

The idea of the action:

Together with a muralist from Chile with an experience of migration, Pau Quintanajornet, CIM Horyzonty prepared special art workshops for children & teenagers from Ukraine called “The mural of peace”. Because of their heavy situation due to the war, they wanted to give them both hope and arteteraphic activity.

Each partcipant was working on a fragment of the mural, and then combined the whole to create a colorful message for the room. The message that standed behind the idea let’s build peace.

During the meetings, they also talked about art in public space, as well as how the word peace resonates in us.

III. Workshop “Equality through media in Ukraine”

The dates when it was carried out: February 2022

Where it was be done: village Sukha Grun, Sumska oblast, Ukraine

Who were the participants/ who was involved in creating it: Children of the local school (grades 2–8), some teachers and parents. The person who was the main creator of the debate was HEARTools training participant, Karina Shamrai.

The idea of the action:

The idea of the action was to use Ukrainian movies, cartoons and fairytales to identify if they strenghten stereotypes about genders, sex, and social roles. They analized some famous pieces of art from 1991 until now, but also some videos which were created by UNESCO to promote human rights and equality. The children, teachers and parents discovered the main issues that children can face because of being influenced by those pieces, e.g. place of woman in the society, the concept of family in Ukraine, freedom of speech and action.

Karina took some excercices from the book “Human rights: a book for teachers and trainers” (published by OSCE in 2011) like “Red Riding Hood”. Students were divided into two groups - one group should have defended the Wolf, another team — Red Riding Hood. The participants had to analyze the situation in which human rights were violated and come with the solutions how it might be avoided.

IV. Graffiti as a key to open the doors of equality

The dates when it will be carried out: June — July, 2022

Where it will be done: Gyumri or Spitak city, Shirak region, Armenia (a formal decision of the local administration is currently pending — a permission for using walls of local buildings is needed)

Who will be the participants/ who will be involved in creating it:

The originators of the project and the youth workers who will deal with the implementation are Satenik Arakelyan & Izabella Khanzratyan who both participated in HEARTools training in Poznań in 2021. They plan to engage local children & teenagers from Shirak region, YIC team members.

The idea of the action:

The main goal of the project is to show the importance of graffiti as a tool to provide important messages about human rights. The targeted topic is the engagement of people with disabilities and to involve them in our daily activities (education/training, creating graffiti).

To start the project it is neccessary to finalize the permission with the mayor of the city and select with his aproval the final place for graffiti. The plan then is to make a fundraising for painting materials and announce the workshop through YIC NGO channels and social media.

During the workshop it is planned to provide practical skills about the connection of art and human rights towards history and successful models, meanwhile, the second part will be practical and will involve learning by doing activities. The participants will learn how to paint, the importance of colors to send messages to the brain, etc.

The graffiti will be simple, medium-sized, and will provide the message that PWD are equal and can enjoy life like everyone else.

Supportive action: “Faces of human rights” photo exhibition

During the workshops and graffiti painting, some photos will be taken to provide a full understanding of equality and the importance of a healthy and joint community. As a result, after the implementation of the first part, the team will create photo exhibition that raises human rights issues and challenges. It is planned to make this exhibition portable to show it in different regions of Armenia. What is important, the authors are going to take new photos for every village and town they visit to gradually increase the exposure.

V. A series of meetings “Mystery of Art”

The dates when it was carried out: 2021 (since July 2021 till December in offline form)

Where it was done: Hatuniye, Amasya, Turkey; partially online and last 5 months in the local school for disabled kids and in the garden of Amasya Akdosd association

Who were the participants/ who was involved in creating it: The local meetings with children with disabilities were initiated and conducted by Turish NGO Amasya Akdosd. The leader of the team was Aslıhan GÖKÇEK who is the member of the NGO and works on a regular basis as an art teacher. The meetings were attended by a mixed group of 8 children with Down syndrome and 16 teenagers without disabilities.

The idea of the action:

The foundation of the action was the inclusion of children with disabilities in the local community - not only talking about them or doing something for them, but actually involving them in joint activities and workshops. In this way, through a series of collaborative art work, teenagers without a disability could better understand how people with Down syndrome think, create and feel. In this way, NGO team wanted to deepen tolerance and understanding for this often excluded group.

The series of meetings included learning about various artistic techniques, painting together and creating a painting in the garden of the association, which is to commemorate the joint work and the similarities between the participants.

VI. New project of Amasya Akdosd that is going to use skills & inspirations from HEARTools

Social workers from Amasya Akdosd have sumbitted a new project that is going to support human rights promotion and contain art-related activities, “We’re Breaking the Barriers Amang US”. The specific aim of this project is to counteract hate speech towards ethnic and religious groups that are widely observed in national (Turkish) and international media.

It is worth noting that city Amasya has alot of refugees and immigrants from Syria, Iraque, Pakistan and some other eastern countries. Most of the local people are complaining about their presence and behaviours. The situation isn’t better in schools. Most of the children of refugees and migrants are isolated without any friends. In this acition the Turkish NGO wants to raise awareness and combat racism & discrimination.

The dates when it will be carried out: 12–16 December 2022 (If the submitted project is successful, the association receives funds for art workshops and the necessary materials)

VII. Professional support of artists for the project “Let’s change the story”

The dates when it was carried out: April 2022

Where it was done (place): Barcelona, Spain

Who were the participants/ who was involved in creating it: The initiative “Let’s change story” is an annual theatre workshop for children that is being conducted in Institut Escola Sant Esteve in Barcelona by it’s teachers and outside experts. This year two HEARTools participants (Ola Muchin and Mauricio Riobó de la Cía) decided to support the action.

The idea of the action:

The purpose is to change the traditional stories and convert them into contemporary ones, so less stereotypical and exclusive. The children make their own puppets and choose their character for whom they actively build the destiny on the stage. The scenes are played out in the form of a small theater.

Ona a regular basis Ola and Mauricio create the association Espai la Bayka, who performs puppet theatres and shows. Thanks to their professional skills in creating puppets and operating them on stage, they were able to equip training participants with appropriate tools of expression.

Sample video showing creating puppets:

Plans of Ola and Mauricio for future (the 2nd part of 2022):

“Breaking Barriers Shows”

The artists want to create performances dedicated to blind children, because traditional theater excludes them from participation. In this purpose they want to use homemade sound tool called funnelscope made with funnels and hidraulic tubes and a scenography that has a lot of textures, different materials (paper, plastic wool) and tridimensional shapes. That’s how the story can be experienced by listening and touching and not necesarily by watching.

VIII. Workshops to raise awareness and counteract hate speech

The dates when it supposed to be carried out: 1–29 March, 2022 (Workshop failed because of the war in Ukraine that broke out on 24 February 2022)

Where it was planned to be done: 4 high schools in Poltava, Ukraine

Who was involved in creating it: The originator of the action is Yaroslav Halieiev who participated HEARTools training. He planned to conduct workshops for students of high school with the support of local facilitators the youth center in Poltava.

The idea of the action:

The project had a goal to raise an awareness about hate speech on social media (what is hate speech, how we can dedicate it and how we can counteract it). It was planned to create a safe space for discussion about the hate speech and use art as a tool to attract attention to the problem. The idea was to prepare with the participants a street art composition that relate to the topic.

IX. Stickers with slogans promotiong human rights

The dates when it will be carried out: Autumn 2022

Where it is planned to be done: Sofia, Bulgaria

Who is involved in creating it: Maria Kadieva (HEARTOOLs participant)

The idea of the action:

The idea for this was born during the HEARTools training in Poznań. Maria plans to create artistic stickers with slogans promoting human rights, and then distritbute them in public spaces in the city.




Promotion of human rights can be a made by everyone. Learn how.

Recommended from Medium

Say Hello to PungPung, ICP!

Dramas of Ravishment: Christopher Miles’s ceramic sculpture

“An Old-Fashioned Mood of Christmas:” Van Gogh’s Portraits of Old Men Praying and Bible Reading

Mona Lisa as an Advertising Face

The joy of commissioning your mates.

The Role Of Photography In Resisting Trump And Racism

Lost and Found: Motherhood

A new adaptation of Manav Kaul’s celebrated play Ilhaam is ready for its first run in Bengaluru

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marengo N

Marengo N

More from Medium

Jordan Peterson on the JRE

The Commonwealth as Guarding the Appropriation of the Commons

Jack Reacher Takes Up Painting Happy Clouds