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OneMinutesJr workshop in Kyrgyzstan – Day 1

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2009
Young participants developing their stories ideas on the first day of the OneMinutesJr workshop in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

20 children from four different institutions in Kyrgyzstan participate in a OneMinutesJr workshop in the capital Bishkek this week. The youngsters – aged 10 to 17 years old – will share their stories and experiences from the respective children's home or residential school and produce their own 60-second films before the end of the week.

UNICEF and the NGO Everychild have worked together over the last few weeks to make this workshop happen – and today at 9 AM all invited children are in the conference room in Bishkek when the trainers David and Kristina from Amsterdam and Chris from Germany arrive.

The children's “mission“ is clear: Express yourselves! Tell us what is good about the institutions you live and, but also what is not so good about them. The workshop this week will feed into a larger conference coming up in mid-May, also in Bishkek. “Building ad Reforming Child Care Systems in Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Turkey“ will be on the agenda in about two weeks from today. And child participation will be one of the defining moments of the conference.

The hand-on workshop that is taking place right now will produce 20 films that might have a huge effect on some of the discussions and the decisions when the politician and experts meet here in May. After the usual routine of introductions and a crashcourse in OneMinutesJr techniques in the morning, the children start developing their own ideas right after lunch. Some are still struggling to put a structure to their thoughts that could evolve into a short-film, but some others already have it all planned out.

Maftuna (15) lives in a boarding-school near Bishkek and her big problem is the stigma she carries around with herself. For others, she is just “that girl from the children's home“. She feels discriminated against and hopes she can change her situation and that of many others who share her fate with a film that shows that all children are the same and there is no reason to put her down.

Sasha (15) has been in a boarding-school for about 6 months now. He used to be a real trouble-maker and constantly got into arguments with his mother. Since he (was) moved into the boarding-school, his relationship to his mother has improved significantly. He's getting help on the one hand, as this is better than a broken home, but it is still far from equal to what children have in a functioning home environment. Sasha wants to show this in a OneMinutesJr video, in which – with a few editing tricks – he will interview himself.

Sergej (15) from Tokmok likes taking pictures and also lives in a boarding-school, about 1 ½ hours away from Bishkek. He likes it there, he says. Then he reflects on his life in a bit more detail: “Well, I like it there most of the time. I mean, it's ok there. However, we don't have computers and our library doesn't have many interesting books. Let me put it this way: It's possible to live there...“ These words at the end of his film should be a wake-up call to the decision-makers at the conference in May. “It's possible to live there...“ - is that really all we have to offer to the children in institutions in Central Asia?

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – April 27, 2009 - Chris Schuepp



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