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OneMinutesJr workshops on Juvenile Justice in Ukraine - Day 5

by Chris Schuepp

Kharkiv, UKRAINE, 20 March 2013 - Just one day after finishing the workshop in the Girls' Detention Facility in Melitopol, the OneMinutesJr team arrives at the Kuryazh Youth Correctional Facility for Boys outside the city of Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine.

The objective is the same here: To facilitate a OneMinutesJr video workshop with 15 inmates of the detention center, to work on story ideas with them, develop scripts, film, edit - the full production of a series of 15 one-minute videos on the life behind bars, life before and after detention over the course of four days.

After a quick round of introductions, we show the films produced until yesterday by the girls in Melitopol to their male peers here in Kharkiv. They can relate to the topics, of course, an can learn a great deal from the style of filming and editing. It also gives them a better sense of what you can say in a minute, how long a minute really is and what possible scenarios for them could be of interest.

The guards of the detention center show us around the facilities during lunch break. There are many statues on the premises and those of Anton Makarenko really stick out. 

Makarenko was a Ukrainian educator and writer and is seen by many as one of the founders of Soviet pedagogy. His ideas included positive peer pressure and he rejected physical punishment. Some of Makarenko's methods came under criticism after the fall of the Soviet Union, but his legacy is still alive here in the Kuryazh Youth Correctional Facility for Boys.

More than 200 boys aged 14 to 21 are here and the fifteen participants we are working with this week are already developing their story ideas in the early afternoon. Their sentences range between three to eight years and most of the boys are here for theft, robbery or violent behavior. 

In a first round of brainstorming with them, they generally seem happy with the atmosphere in the detention facility and most of them are thankful for the education they get here. But still, they all miss their personal freedom and think about the time after they have served their sentences.

We will continue tomorrow on the second day in Kharkiv with camera introductions and more brainstorming before we can hopefully already start shooting the first films of the workshop in the afternoon.



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