New generation of young educators about gender-based violence

Bosnian excursion site Zlača, near Tuzla, became the center of children’s activities planned as a part of the project “Stronger Voice of Girls and Boys Against Gender-Based Violence” funded by the European Union and implemented by UG “Vive Žene” in partnership with The Association “Youth Theater Tuzla”.

In total 40 children are coming from several schools from Tuzla and Brčko and they belong to grades from IV to IX. In the group full of different experiences, knowledge and skills and different characters were found 22 girls and 18 boys.

The main topic of the workshop was GENDER, POWER, and VIOLENCE with which most of the children were familiar with, but did not have the opportunity to think about it deeply and analyze it thoroughly. During the workshops, the youth were given an opportunity to recognize situations from their daily life and give them a new and different meaning. Additionally, they were taught how to recognize the consequences and how to bear up with them.

Amir, one of the participants, said that the workshops were entertaining and that he had an opportunity to talk with his peers and learn something new about violence. “I learned, for example, that the three main elements of violence are duration, intention and strength! It is very educational, and I hope I will know how to use the knowledge I received.”

Discussions at the workshop were focused on male/female relationships, characteristics and propensities of both sexes, as well as the recognition of the prejudices and stereotypes related to “male and female” professions. The participants learned to identify the power as a tool of manipulation in family, in school, in their groups, among parents and professors. In this way, boys and girls learned how to transfer the acquired knowledge to their peers, which will be necessary for them to own as peer educators.

Through interactive workshops, led by skillful educators, the participants have learned the methodology of the workshops, public appearance, how to behave and what kind of body posture to make in front of their peers. Rafaela, also one of the participants, says  she was extremely happy to have been able to participate in such an event. “I am very happy to gain new friends and experiences! The workshops were very educating and interesting. We used different ways to familiarize ourselves with various topics which will be helpful in our future life… in school, with a family and especially, in communication with peers.”

As a result of the project activities on the fight against gender based violence , the following verses were produced, which highlight the role of girls and boys in today’s society.

Hear us all signing,
Very loudly ringing!
We make lines rhyme,

Like we do it all the time.

We are girls,
Bow to the others.
You know, kind and mellow.

We are boys,
Very strong ones.
In school, we are good;
We only get A’s, like Lego models.

Friends, we are all great
After quarrel, no bruising mistake!

Humor is our powerful side,
Every day, we laugh and smile.

Unity, we are one,
Against violence, we vote – done!

Inspiring, as a lampstand,

Welcome to the new land!
We came to make rhymes be,

Song, we will finish on one, two, three!

It is important to emphasize that, although there was no internet at the hotel, most of the participants agreed that this was their best social gathering ever: “There was no internet here, and that’s exactly what connected us. Lot of time without checking and typing on the phone contributed meeting of new friends and experiencing of unforgettable moments”- many of them said.

The experience which future peer educators gained and which will take with them, will enable them to, as they said “when we return to our schools, we will know how to approach some problems and react in conflict situations.”