Balkan teens produce short films on child health and environmental issues

© UNICEF 2007/Bel-003/Schuepp
Teodor, 17, of Moldova films a scene for his OneMinutesJr video, in which teenagers fight against cigarettes.

By Chris Schuepp

BELGRADE, Serbia, 3 May 2007 – Twelve teenagers from all over the Balkans gathered here in the Serbian capital in April to produce short videos focusing on such topics as social exclusion, the plight of Roma children and the challenges of teen smoking and drinking.

Participants in a five-day OneMinutesJr video workshop in Belgrade included youths from Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Moldova, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Ukraine.

Organized by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), UNICEF and the One Minutes Foundation, the workshop also received support from the WHO country office in Belgrade and the Department of Health and Children in Ireland.

© UNICEF 2007/Bel-001/Schuepp
Khrystyna, 19, of Ukraine is producing a video about public health care.

Sparking discussion

The OneMinutesJr workshop was part of WHO/Europe’s preparations for the Intergovernmental Mid-term Review meeting in Vienna, Austria, where countries will meet to discuss their progress on the Children’s Health and Environment Action Plan for Europe. The videos produced by the teenagers in Serbia are to be shown to youth delegates and government officials at the meeting in June.

The hope is that the videos – some of which were completed, while others are still in production – will spark discussion through audio-visual testimony from young Europeans regarding health and environmental issues. For example:

  • Neli, 18, of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria made a video about children’s health problems in her city caused by nearby factories
  • Sanja, 16, of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is using WHO statistics on the top 10 causes of death and transforming them into a short-film with abstract symbols representing heart disease, traffic accidents and other perils
  • Teodor, 17, of Moldova produced an action movie showing teenagers fighting against cigarettes – a funny film with a serious message that viewers definietly will not forget 
  • Iva, 17, of Serbia is shooting a video to test whether minors can buy alcohol in stores in Belgrade without being asked for identification
  • Khrystyna, 19, of Ukraine is making a video about public health care in her country.

Premiere in June

“The workshop was a great opportunity for me to meet other teenagers from the Balkans,” said Alexsandar, 18, of Skopje, Macedonia. “We were all asked to think about issues concerning children's health and the environment. I concentrated on the tough conditions faced by Roma children in my country.

“I used the football idea of being offside,” continued Alexsandar. “I wanted to illustrate how Roma kids are not considered part of society, how they are then penalized and that this is part of the humiliation and discrimination they face each day.”

After the films have their premiere at the WHO/Europe conference in June, they will be online on the OneMinutesJr project website and the regional WHO and UNICEF sites.




View the OneMinutesJr video, ‘Offside’, by Aleksandar Stepanovski, 18, of Macedonia, which deals with the issue of social exclusion.
 VIDEO  view