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ADRA Italy implements project to combat disability prejudice

ADRA Italy implements project to combat disability prejudice

(credit: ADRA Italia)

January 07, 2021 | ADRA Italia.

The social educational project 'Il Marciapiede Didattico, Disabilita il Pregiudizio’ (The Educational Sidewalk, Disabling Prejudice), coordinated by ADRA Italia, has become a research project investigating how to reduce discrimination against disabled people and minority groups, among boys and girls, by simulating situations of discomfort.

The experiment was carried out among groups of students (450 in all), aged between 11 and 15 years old, attending some secondary schools in the Municipality of Florence. The main objective was to reduce prejudice against those with disabilities, using the perspective of identification, i.e., putting oneself in the shoes of others, sitting in a wheelchair and walking along a modular wooden pavement mounted inside the school facilities with all the difficulties and obstacles of any city pavement.

This was the birth of the collaboration for this research between the Department of Education, Languages, Interculture, Literatures and Psychology of the University of Florence, in partnership with District 5 of the Municipality of Florence and the support of the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, the Region of Tuscany, the 8×1000 of the Adventist Church, and ADRA International.

The results obtained from the study support the initial thesis and show that taking the point of view of a minority group while interacting with a person from this same group leads to more favourable attitudes, higher levels of empathy, and higher contact intentions towards people with disabilities. On the other hand, those reported by individuals who completed the activity of putting themselves in someone else's shoes, without encountering a person belonging to a minority group, were lower.

The significantly interesting aspect that these results revealed is that the perspective of immersion proved to be effective in reducing prejudice towards minorities who were not explicitly mentioned during the intervention.

The research article was approved and published in one of the most important scientific journals in the field of social psychology: The Journal of Applied Social Psychology. We can say that the educational project, "Educational Sidewalk", is a valuable tool for breaking down mental as well as physical barriers to disability and diversity.

The original article was publshed here.

To read the entire article, go here.

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