Humans of YEN – Alexandru Nicolae Bujicu

admin-ajax-phpMy name is Alex and I am a Vlach from Romania.

Our community is facing several political problems in Romania, about which people from all of Europe have to be informed. YEN is the best answer for that. YEN is also important to me because through YEN, I have the chance to learn more about how other minorities act to preserve their cultural identity. Furthermore having the chance to speak Armâneasthi with friends who are living in other countries – such as Albania, Macedonia and Serbia – is priceless!

Humans of YEN – Özlem Etdöger

admin-ajax-phpMy name is Özlem Etdöger and I’m from the Kurdish minority.

I was motivated to pariticpate in the Diversity Festival because I have the chance to meet other minorities from Europe. The more we connect and support each other, the louder and more colourful we are. Only in this way we can get stronger, and fight for the same goal – to be visible and accepted!

Humans of YEN – Lena Friederike Merve Baute

admin-ajax-phpMy name is Lena Friederike Merve Baute and I’m from the Danish minority in Germany.

YEN is important to me because of thousands and one reasons. I love the people who gather around and stand up for YEN and our values. I love all the culture and diversity that is united in YEN and makes it such an unique organisation.

And I’m greatful for all the opportunities YEN has given me and how I’m valued as an individual.

Thank you, dear YEN family!

EUROPEADA 2016 – Minorities, Culture, Friendship, Fair Play and Football

Feestfoto-lichter”Der Ball ist Rund – Das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten”

Die EUROPEADA in Südtirol wurde dieses Jahr mit einer tollen Eröffnung gestartet. Die Gastgeber waren die Süd Tiroler und Ladiner mit der organisatorischen Unterstützung der FUEN. 30 Minderheiten-Mannschaften aus ganz Europa konnten sich stolz präsentieren. Der Teamgeist stand an erster Stelle und die Minderheiten haben zusammen ein wunderschönes und vor allem buntes Bild abgegeben – im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes. Die Stimmung war toll und auch das trübe Wetter konnte diese nicht drücken.

Die ersten Spiele wurden am Sonntagnachmittag angepfiffen. Nun hatten auch die Zuschauer und angereisten Fans Charakterzüge und Besonderheiten der Mannschaften und Spieler kennengelernt.

Bei manchen Spielen wurde durch die große Anzahl angereister Fans laut gejubelt, angefeuert und gesungen. Dies wurde am folgenden Tag durch heisere Stimmen besonders deutlich. Bei anderen Spielen stand jedoch tiefe Konzentration und Technik im Vordergrund und die Ergebnisse konnten sich zeigen lassen – zumindest für eine der zwei spielenden Mannschaften.

So verlief die Woche und die Fans waren trotz heiserer Stimmen und prallender Sonne immer aktiv dabei. Je näher das Turnier dem Finale entgegen kam, desto deutlicher wurde es, wie sehr die noch spielenden Mannschaften die EUROPEADA gewinnen wollten.

Wo bei einigen Mannschaften trotz Niederlagen weiterhin gefeiert wurde und diese Mannschaften danach auch andere Minderheiten-Teams anfeuerten, nahmen andere Mannschaften die Niederlagen ernst und die Fußballherzen wurden verletzt.

Die Intensivität der Finalrunden wurde nicht weniger. Man möge sich also fragen, ob das kulturelle und freundschaftliche Zusammentreffen von Minderheiten aus ganz Europa nun eher im Hintergrund stand, während der Fußball die dominierende Rolle übernahm. War es den Mannschaften wichtiger, neue Freundschaften über die Grenzen Europas hinaus zu schließen und die Vielfalt in Europa zu stärken, oder ging es nur um das kompromisslose Gewinnen des Turniers? Die Chance, 24 Minderheiten aus ganz Europa kennenzulernen bekommt man schließlich nicht alle Tage. Dieser kulturelle Austausch sollte bei der EUROPEADA zusammen mit dem Fußball an erster Stelle stehen. Doch manche Mannschaften waren übermotiviert das Turnier zu gewinnen und das freundschaftliche Zusammenspielen spielte somit oft eine eher kleine Rolle. Dies wirkte sich letztendlich auch auf ein faires Spiel aus.

Würde man den Mannschaften für ihren Teamgeist eine Note (1-6) geben, so würden sie alle eine 1 bekommen, denn intern war der Zusammenhalt sehr stark. Doch wie würden wir den Teamgeist bewerten, wenn wir alle EUROPEADA-Teilnehmenden in einen Topf stecken würden?

Eins ist sicher – die angereisten Fans waren immer dabei, doch diese standen letztendlich bei der Siegerehrung nicht auf dem Platz. Und wer stand eigentlich noch auf dem Platz, als die Pokale überreicht wurden? Die EUROPEADA war mal wieder ein voller Erfolg und sie hat uns allen gezeigt, wie Vielfalt verbindet. Dies wurde aber nicht nur auf dem Fußballfeld deutlich, sondern vor allem neben dem Platz. Denn hier ging es zwar auch ums Gewinnen – jedoch besonders um das Unterstützen der eigenen Minderheit sowie der neuen Freunde anderer Minderheiten.

Hausaufgaben für die nächste EUROPEADA wären also vielleicht: Denke darüber nach, wie du deinen Gegner offen in die Arme schließen kannst, trotz Niederlagen aber auch bei Erfolg. Wer es lieber leichter hat und gerne beim Nachbarn abguckt, der kann sich ein gutes Beispiel an den Frauenmannschaften nehmen. Denn hier wurden die Gegner bei Erfolg gefeiert aber vor allem auch bei Niederlagen.

Denn am Ende des Tages ist der Ball immer noch Rund, das Spiel hat 90 Minuten gedauert und der Bessere hat gewonnen. So läuft das doch beim Fußball, oder?

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Feestfoto2-lichter„The Football is round and the match lasts 90 minutes“

Technically quite easy…

The EUROPEADA 2016 was kicked off with a wonderful opening hosted by the South Tyroleans, the Ladin speaking minority and with the organisational support from FUEN. 30 minorities with 24 men teams and 6 women teams were proud to march around Bruneck and present themselves to all the other teams.

Team spirit was on the top of the agenda and the minorities together pictured colourful diversity – literarily. The atmosphere was great and even the cloudy weather couldn’t halt the positive spirit.

The first matches were kicked off Sunday afternoon. The teams were ready to show of their best moves, which they had practised for weeks. Now the audience, or moreover the fans, who arrived together with their teams, were able to get a picture of characteristics and specialities of the teams and players.

Some matches were supported with team songs of the fans – the voices had to suffer on the following days. In other matches the teams were focused and the technique was very important.

The results were definitely worth to show – at least for one of the two playing teams.

That was how the week went on and although the voices of the fans and players were raspy and the sun was blazing, they never stopped showing their support to the teams. Not only their own minority teams, but to new friends as well. The closer the teams got towards the finals, it got more and more clear how much the teams, who were still playing, wanted to win the EUROPEADA.

Despite of defeats, some teams continued to celebrate their own team and supported other teams. Other teams were more serious about their defeat and the football hearts were hurt.

The intensity of the final rounds didn’t decrease. One could ask, whether the cultural as well as friendly encounter of minorities was placed in the back, while the football now took over the dominant role. Was it more important for the teams to establish new friendships across Europe’s borders and celebrate the diversity of Europe, or was it all about a tough-minded winning of the tournament? Meeting people from 24 different minorities all over Europe is not a chance you will get every day. Together with football, this cultural encounter should rank first at the EUROPEADA. However, some teams were over motivated to win the tournament and the friendly matches turned out not to be as friendly always, which had an effect on fair playing

If one would have to grade the teams for their team spirit (A-F), the teams would all get an A – the solidarity and team spirit was very strong internally. But how would we rate the teams if we would put all EUROPEADA-participants in one box?

One thing is clear, the fans were always present and supporting – but they were not the ones who were standing on the field at the award ceremony in the end. And who was actually standing on the field in the end, when the cups were handed over to the winning teams?

The EUROPEADA was a great success again and it has showed us, how diversity connects. This did not only become clear on the football field, but especially besides the field. Of course the wish to win was present here as well – but it was moreover important to support the minority as well as making new friends.

Homework for the new EUROPEADA teams could thus be: Reflect about how you can welcome your opponent with open arms, despite defeats and especially by after winning. To those who like to walk the easy path by looking at the neighbour’s homework, they should take a look at the women’s tournament. Here the teams were celebrating the results after the matches, despite defeat and success. That was a clear sign of “friendship-matches”.

Because, at the end of the day, the ball is still round, the match lasted for 90 minutes and the best team won. That’s how it is in football, right?

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EUROPEADA in South Tyrol 2016

SüdtirolerinnenKatrin Plankl (Kapitänin der Auswahl „Südtirol“/captain of the South Tyrol football team), Anna Katharina Peer (Spielerin der Auswahl „Südtirol“/player in the South Tyrol football team)

Für uns ist das ein wirklich tolles Gefühl bei der EUROPEADA mit dabei zu sein. Erstens, weil die Fußballmeisterschaft hier bei uns in Südtirol stattfindet und zweites ist es ein ganz tolles Event – sowohl sportlicher als auch in kultureller Hinsicht. Man lernt andere Minderheiten kennen, man kommt mit dem Thema in Kontakt und schließt Freundschaften, das ist toll. Wir wussten gar nicht, wie viele Minderheiten es in Europa gibt.

Als Angehörige einer Minderheit haben wir den Vorteil der Mehrsprachigkeit: Wir sprechen Deutsch, Italienisch, aber auch Englisch. Die Akzeptanz anderer Kulturen ist bei uns größer. Was unsere Geschichte betrifft, haben wir gelernt uns durchzusetzen.

Auf dem Spielfeld sprechen wir natürlich Deutsch miteinander. Es handelt sich nicht um Hochdeutsch, sondern um unseren Südtiroler Dialekt. Zum Teil kommen unsere Spielerinnen aus Teams, in denen auch Italienerinnen spielen oder die Trainerin (bzw. der Trainer) Italienerin ist. Aus diesem Grund fallen teilweise auch italienische Wörter auf dem Spielfeld – je nachdem, welches Wort als erstes in den Sinn kommt. Wir sprechen aber auch unterschiedliche Südtiroler Dialekte, was teilweise schwierig ist. Doch das ist ganz interessant, weil man da wieder etwas dazulernt, und das ist schön!

 

For us it feels great to be part of the EUROPEADA. First because this football championship is in our region, South Tyrol, and second because it’s a beautiful event that covers sports as well as culture. You get to know new minorities, learn about their issues and meet new friends, which is really nice. We didn’t even know that there were so many minorities in Europe.

As members of a minority we have the benefit of multilingualism: we speak German, Italian and English. Different cultures get accepted more easily here. Through our history we have learned to persevere.

On the football field we of course speak German with each other. Not High German, but our own South Tyrol dialect. Some of our players come from teams with Italian members or Italian trainers, so it’s not unusual for us to also use some words from that language on the field –  it depends on which word comes to mind first. We also speak different South Tyrolean dialects, which can be difficult at times. But that’s what makes it interesting, because you learn new things!

EUROPEADA in South Tyrol 2016

Nina-kleinNina Peckelsen (Kommissarin für Kommunikation der JEV und Teilnehmerin des Mediencamps der JEV / Convenor for Communication and participant of the YEN Media Camp)

Als Westfriesin aus den Niederlanden bin ich zu Hause mit drei Kulturen aufgewachsen: Friesisch, Niederländisch und Deutsch. Dadurch habe ich nicht nur mehr Sprachen gelernt, sondern auch verstanden, dass es mehr als nur eine Kultur gibt. Ich glaube, dass ich offener gegenüber der Welt und anderen Menschen bin, weil mir schon als Kind mitgegeben worden ist, dass jeder einen anderen Hintergrund hat.

Mein Lieblingswort im Friesischen ist “grutsk”. Ich gebrauche es selbst eigentlich nicht so oft, da ich im Alltag eher das niederländische Wort “trots” verwende. Es bedeutet “stolz” und ich mag es, weil gleichzeitig auch das Wort “groß” darin steckt. Ich stelle mir vor, dass der Mensch, der “grutsk” sagt, in diesem Moment größer wird.

As a West Frisian from the Netherlands I grew up with three cultures: Frisian, Dutch and German. Because of this I learned more than just multiple languages, but also that there´s more than just one culture. I believe this makes me more open towards the world and people in general, because I expierienced from a young age that everyone has a different background.

My favourite Frisian word is “grutsk”. I myself don´t use it that often, because I´m prone to say this in Dutch, which would be “trots”. It means “proud”, and I like it so much because it has the Frisian word for “big” in it. For me it feels as if the person that uses this word, grows a little every time.

EUROPEADA in South Tyrol 2016

JakubJakob Wowčer/Schäfer (participant of the YEN media camp / Teilnehmer des Mediencamps der JEV)

Einer Minderheit anzugehören bedeutet für mich etwas Besonderes zu sein, etwas Anderes zu sein. Ich kann etwas über mich erzählen.

Ich bin bei der EUROPEADA in Südtirol mit dabei, um zusammen mit den anderen Lausitzer Sorben unsere beiden Teams zu unterstützen und sie zum Sieg anzutreiben. Natürlich bin ich auch hier, um Freunde zu treffen, gemeinsam Spaß zu haben, neue Leute kennenzulernen. Und diese ganze Atmosphäre möchte ich gerne in die Lausitz mitnehmen.

I am here at EUROPEADA in South Tyrol together with other Lusatian Sorbs to support our two teams and to cheer them to victory. Of course, I am also here to meet my friends, to have some fun together and to meet new people. Thus, I would like to take the whole atmosphere with me to my home region Lusatia.

To be a part of a minority means to me being something extraordinary and different and that I can tell something about myself to the others.

“Open Society” at the YEN Easter Seminar 2016

“Open Society” at the YEN Easter Seminar 2016

More than 80 different young adults traveled to Pécs (Fünfkirchen) in Hungary in order to join the Easter Seminar from the 19th to the 25th of March. As always, workshops, excursions and fun were the most important topics on the agenda of the seminar. This year the organisation GJU (Gemeinschaft Junger Ungarndeutscher) hosted the seminar in Hotel Laterum, which is situated in the beautiful German speaking region Pécs.

What on earth is this workshop about and where does it come from?

The motto of the Seminar was “Open Society” and the five workshops (Grass-root journalism and online-campaigning, E-youth participation, Motivating and Activating young People for action, Multilingualism and language diversity, Identity and culture of the Germans in Hungary) were working on this subject.

In the workshop “Grass-root journalism and online campaigning” the participants were dealing with the question: “How can I use social networks to promote and support my minority?”. Professional workshop leaders helped and taught the participants to write articles, write blogs and gave them basic tools to establish a campaign. The YEN-campaign #DiversityConnects was an important factor in the workshops and the participants have collected different materials for future actions of the campaign.

E-youth participation was the name of the second workshop, which dealt with the topic of youth participation from a political perspective. The central questions were: “Which institutions and processes are available in the area of european youth- and minority politics. How can i participate and contribute? How can I use new media as a tool to make decisions?”. During the workshop, the participants finalised a recommendation with a set of online-tools, which we want to use in decision-making processes in the YEN.

Another interesting workshop looked at Motivation methods and activating young people for action. Although the internet nowadays gives us much more possibilities of participating, the number of participants in youth organisations is decreasing on all levels. With the help of non-formal education the participants amongst others discussed the implementation of typical meetings (e.g. Assemblies and General assemblies) and how these can be shaped even more interesting. Methods of creative thinking and possibilities how we can “think out of the box” were developed.
Furthermore there were discussed different concepts to find right target groups, based on different examples from member organisations and the working group for member integration. What are the basic needs and aims? How do you recognize and achieve them?
In the end the participants of this workshop also wrote and motivation letter, which should be used to motivate people for different kinds of activities.

Another important point was discussed in the workshop called Multilingualism and Language Diversity in Europe. In this workshop facts were presented about language and the advantages of multilingualism. The participants were shown how this knowledge could be passed on in an interactive and playful way, and after that they designed a course for the Valeria Koch School and visited the Germanistic Institute of the University of Pécs. The participants also talked about the education and language issues their minority faced.

In the fifth workshop Hungarian German culture was closely examined, as it’s name, “Hungarian German Identity and Culture” already gave away. The main topics of discussion were: how do these people live and what defines them? Is it difficult for it’s members to maintain their traditions? In the practical part of this workshop the participants visited multiple Hungarian German villages, first of all to speak to younger and elder members of this minority about their identity, but also to discover the similarities and differences between the towns.

A day in the life of an Easter Seminar participant

As always, the days were long and exciting during the Easter Seminar! Just for you, our YENvestigator found out what such a long and exciting day for the common participant typically looked like.
For the sake of simplicity the word ‘subject’ is used when participants of the Easter Seminar are concerned in the following text.

08:00 The first item on the program commences: breakfast! A desperate search for certain subjects appears to futile. Because the perils of defect alarm clocks or incorrect information endanger the chances of these particular subjects to enjoy another day at the seminar, an Organiser Subject (capitalised because of it’s bigger importance) is chosen to do the honorary task of waking these subjects up by making acoustic signals in the vicinity of their known sleeping places.

08:59 The last minute of this particular item, breakfast, dawns upon all subjects. The biggest part of the subjects has been successfully ‘found’ and now approaches its foraging grounds with a moderate pace.

09:30 The second item on the program, called ‘workshops’, commences. The Trainer Subjects (illuminated subjects that are blessed with the wonderful task of passing on knowledge to other subjects) open the gates of the seminar rooms. Full of barely contained joy and armed with water bottles, the other subjects dash into those seminar rooms that are assigned to them, to get started with the exciting themes that have been laid out for them. The willingness to be active is sometimes so overpowering that the Trainer Subjects are forced to throw in some so-called ‘energizers’ (a merry folk dance that is supposed to boost the participants’ energy level).

12:30 Of course even the strongest subject is nothing without nourishment, which is why the item ‘Lunch’ has been has been established by wise minds. At this thing called lunch it is taken into account that the subjects are in great want of animal proteins, so that they may have enough energy in extreme emergencies (i.e. a lift defect).
At every YEN seminar however one certain group of subjects can be observed, who go by the collective name of ‘vegetarian’ (observe here). These subjects are forced to abstain from this thing called meat. During lunch consideration is shown towards this group, so that they may also live through the day without animal proteins.

14:00 To get to know their surroundings, the subjects are send out on a trip. Such a trip is also defined as ‘excursion’ by certain experts. At a so-called excursion the respective host’s cultural and culinary delicacies are presented. This time it could even be observed how a group of subjects was transported around in a 50 year old 2CV.

17:30 At every seminar so-called ‘Newbie’ subjects are represented. The special thing about this particular group of subjects is that it is still very much inexperienced in the ways of this wondrous world of YEN, and therefore is given a short introduction by older subjects (named ‘Oldies’). They usually gather at a certain time during the day and exert multiple initiation rituals. This Easter Seminar the subjects were taught how to sit properly at such an event.

19:00 Another nourishment intake ritual, called ‘dinner’, is started. It doesn’t differentiate much from lunch, and some subjects go so far as to make the claim that it is exactly the same! (#XFACTOR)

21:00 The Exchange Market is officially opened. It was established because of the known fact that most subjects do not originate from the same area. The goal of this market is to get an intimate look into the eating and drinking habits of all subjects. Sometimes it can be observed how certain subjects experience this thing called ‘culture shock’ and have to be transported to their beds at an early hour.

05:00 The first rays of sun colour the sky and the average subject looks instinctively for it’s sleeping place, mostly to recover from the shenanigans it’s been up to in the past 21 hours. The occasion is also used to memorise all those pesky abbreviations of the YEN member organisation.

Excursions are a funny thing

As every year there were excursions this year as well. To getting to know the hosts better, we visited some Hungarian-German villages and explored the city of Pècs.

In order to discover Pècs, we did a City Rallye on sunny Sunday. All participants were able to solve exciting tasks to win a prize.
On Wednesday the Hungarian-German culture, history and cuisine were discovered. The day started in Bóly/Bohl with museum visits (Agricultural Museum, reconstructed granary with a Hungarian-German exhibition). Then it was already time to move on to Székelyszabar/Sawer. On a farm the participants had a traditional lunch and they tried old methods of butter and bread making. After that the workshop the groups exchanged outcomes of their workshops in a relaxed atmosphere.

In the end of day we went to Villány/Wieland in a famous wine-growing region, where the one or other glass of wine was tasted.

Discussion evening

Of course we were also dealing with current issues at the seminar, like the terrible happenings in Belgium and the refugee crisis. This is why there was organized a discussion relating to these issues and everyone was able to express his/her opinion and ask questions.
As an expert, there we invited the journalist Anna Frenyó, who also led through the evening. She spent a lot of time on escape routes throughout Hungary and was therefore able to talk about destinies from individual refugees as well as personal stories. Furthermore she also showed some videos and interviews with refugees she met.

Guests of YEN at the seminar

During this year’s Easter seminar as well, YEN was able to welcome some new guests. It was a pleasure to meet the Youth of the German-speaking Community of Belgium (ProDG – J), Phiren Amenca (Network for Roma and non-Roma volunteers) and the Youth of the Hungarian Minority in Romania (Miért) in Pécs. Beyond this, YEN entered into a partnership agreement with ProDG – J. We are very much looking forward to the cooperation with these organisations!

We hope, that all participants have had an exciting and great week and we are really looking forward seeing you all again soon!

On the whole, this year’s Easter seminar was a great success. The GJU (Youth of the German-speaking minority in Hungary) and the YEN team have done some fantastic work. A big thank you also to the outstanding trainers of this week’s workshops.

The seminar was supported by the European Youth Foundation, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

more photos: http://tiny.cc/qkj9ay
YEN Resolution on refugee situation in Europe

YEN Resolution on refugee situation in Europe

At the Easter Seminar 2016 of YEN (Youth of European Nationalities) following resolution on the refugee situation in Europe was developed:

The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) is the largest European network of youth organizations of ethnic, national, and language minorities in Europe. YEN and its 39 member organisations work actively for the preservation of minorities and their rights and strive, through intercultural exchange with majority populations and other minorities, to support and live in a united, inclusive, and diverse Europe. We as YEN believe that every person should be treated equally. Migration has taken place throughout history and has shaped Europe. Today Europe has to face a huge challenge due to the influx of people for example from the Middle-East and North-African countries. Syria has been suffering from war for five years and many people do not have any other chance than leaving this country. These refugees have no other choice but starting a dangerous journey to come to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea. According to UNHCR, 3735 people had to die in 2015 while taking these sea routes hoping for a better life. Refugees spend a huge amount of money in order to reach Europe, more than 90% of asylum seekers had to pay a large fee to human traffickers to bring them to Europe. Some states show inhuman attitude by building fences and not being prepared to let refugees into their countries. However, this refugee situation should be approached from a humanitarian perspective. Many volunteers throughout Europe have shown their solidarity by helping the 1,8 million refugees, who arrived in Europe. Unfortunately media operates with negative stereotypes by using a language which creates fear. Refugees face cultural prejudice of European citizens. Many people do not try to understand the cultures, beliefs and values of the refugees but rather stick to their own prejudices against foreigners. This may lead to racism, xenophobia and neglecting basic human values.

Therefore we, the Youth of European Nationalities urge European countries and institutions to:

  • ensure conditions for the preservation of cultural identity of people fleeing to Europe as preserving cultural diversity is one of the main goals of YEN. Governments and European institutions have to work on the social inclusion of refugees granting them access to education and social system. Furthermore, keeping their mother tongues and preventing the assimilation should be prioritized on the long term.
  • build a refugee-friendly environment in order to prevent exclusion of these people. History taught us that exclusion of parts of the population leads to radicalization and social unrest.
  • collaborate together to find a common policy, to stop unequal treatment, hate speech, sexual, xenophobic and racial violence against refugees and prevent them from forced labour.
  • punish the use of hate speech, especially on social networks. While legislators and politicians have to work on proper regulations, public campaigns such as “no hate speech movement” should raise awareness on this topic in order to prevent violation. Hate speech of parties, organisations, media and people influencing public opinion have to be outlawed.
  • respect the arrangements of the Genève convention and the universal declaration of human rights which state that refugees cannot be forced back to the countries they fled from if their life could be in danger there.

Furthermore, YEN calls on European and national media to:

  • pay more attention on the language used in public. Media plays a significant role in public dialogue and the use of inappropriate language creates fear.

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Story of Diana

Story of Diana

The current situation of the Burgenland Croatian minority and its language is not really optimal, like in other minorities; the amount of active speakers gets less and less. The Austrian society does not really see the advantages and importance of an additional language; neither do a lot of members of the Burgenland Croats themselves.

Until kindergarten I did not speak German at all, and even later on during nursery and primary school my relatives and parents refused to speak German to me – so I did not unlearn my mother tongue, as most of my childhood friends did.
As a child and in my early teenage years, I was not feeling comfortable speaking my mother tongue in public. People were looking at us speaking Croatian and at that time it was kind of embarrassing for me, and I was not self-confident enough to really stand up for my identity, culture and language. Thank god, with time this changed. By becoming a member of our local Tamburica-group I started seeing my bilingualism as a big advantage and chance. With time I began to advocate more and more for my mother tongue and its preservation and I also started to be an active member of the HAK.

I am now proud of my identity and hope to make my contribution to change the current situation of my minority for the better.