It’s been 28 years and during this time Silajdzik made it her mission to promote tolerance towards migrants in the Czech Republic. Her initial idea of bringing natives and non-natives together for a lunch received serious doubts from her young, native colleagues. “They told me: ‘It’s impossible. Czech families don’t meet up so much with each other, maybe… only once a year’,” she remembers.
The now award-winning project called Next Door Family was first launched in 2004 by NGO Slovo 21. In the first year, 200 families participated in the initiative – 100 Czech families and 100 foreign families. The high level of interest from the Czech side left Silajdzik, director of Slovo 21, and the staff in tears.