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OneMinutesJr workshop in Lipcani, Moldova - Day 1

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2010
A workshop participant during the first phase of the workshop - story development.

by Chris Schuepp

LIPCANI, Moldova - October 4, 2010
- Monday morning, 9 AM. We are standing outside the youth penitentiary in Lipcani, Moldova, waiting to start the first ever OneMinutesJr workshop behind bars. Yuriy Furmusachi, the Director of the Lipcani penitentiary, picks us up from the main entrance, where we have to leave our passports and our mobile phones. He then shows us around the compounds to get accustomed to the surroundings.

A little later, we meet the small group of inmates that we will work with over the next four days. For security reasons, our group is kept down to six participants this time. They are between 16 and 21 years old and are serving prison sentences of up to 10 years. Four of them were convicted for rape, one of them for murdering his parents and the other one for theft.

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2010
Already filming the first story - Andrei (17) is entering the prison church with a candle.

From the very beginning, it is clear that this workshop will be different. We are behind bars, the locations for filming are limited, the group is smaller and the life here in the youth prison is very different from the life outside.

The six young people we are working with are finding it hard to open up and tell their stories. However, what they do tell us are their plans for the future. They all want to achieve something when they get out of prison, find jobs, have families. This might be the main focus of our work here - to give them a chance to produce a short video statement that puts their own dreams and wishes into a tangible format, but also to show people "out there" that these children are not "lost cases", but youngsters who deserve a second chance.

In the afternoon, we start shooting the first story. Vasily (16) has volunteered to be the cameraman and despite a complete lack of experience, he does surprisingly well from the very start. There is a little church in the prison and this is the location for the first film. Andrei (17), who has another eight years in prison in front of himself, tells us about the "good old times" when he was a bell-boy in church in Chisinau. And that he believes, that there are better times ahead for himself.





Daily Diary from Lipcani, Moldova (October 2010)


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