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Mateusz and Natalia

Transformed by Stories that Move

21 May 2019 - by Natalia Macioszek & Mateusz Trojanski

In 2013 Natalia Macioszek, a Polish secondary school student and three other secondary school students from Poland took part in the first Stories that Move youth meeting.

She thought of it as an opportunity to discuss important topics, learn more about discrimination, brush up her language skills and meet interesting people. What she did not expect was a life-changing experience that put her on the path to active engagement and a professional career. Without that conference, she probably wouldn’t have dreamed of becoming an Anne Frank House Volunteer, let alone feel empowered to educate about the importance of fighting discrimination.

Mateusz Trojański of the Polish German Centre in Kraków was mentoring the teenagers on that trip in 2013. For him, too, it was an unforgettable experience that opened him up to new initiatives and started him on a journey into the field of education. He became a European Voluntary Service volunteer at the Anne Frank House in 2018, involved on many levels in Stories that Move. He helped with corrections, advised on new modules and helped testing the tool. Now, he is the coordinator of Stories that Move for Poland: preparing professional development seminars for educators and workshops for students.

“If you’d asked me in Berlin in September 2013 – ‘what will you be doing in six years from now?’ I would never have expected the way things have turned out,” he says. “The Stories that Move have moved many of us.”

It was therefore with the greatest pleasure that we “continue our joint journey with Stories that Move,” say Mateusz and Natalia. They joined forces again in March at the VII Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Józefa Piłsudskiego, a Stories that Move partner school in Kielce, a town in southern Poland. Mateusz had visited the school the previous month to give a Valentine’s Day class based on one of the stories in the toolbox.

This time they planned a two-day training course for 17 teachers from different schools in the Kielce region, preceded by an open lesson to introduce Stories that Move to students and teachers who could not take part in the workshops.

The teachers were a demanding group with lots of positive energy and anti-discrimination education background. They followed one of the learning paths, considered on- and offline uses, and ended with a general discussion, evaluating the tool. Most of them thought the tool would be an important ally and resource in their classes.

Everyone was particularly positive about the benefits of blended learning. They stressed that the topics covered by Stories that Move were vital to making their students more aware of the society they live in and the world around them, and to shaping a new generation that believes in equality and follows the rules of civil society.

Mateusz and Natalia say: “Seeing this tool develop and used by teachers continues to drive us in our anti-discrimination work. We are very eager to find out what is yet to come in our journey with Stories that Move!”

Mateusz Trojański – Polish German Centre in Kraków and Polish coordinator of the Stories that Move project.

Natalia Macioszek – 2019 European Solidarity Corps volunteer in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

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