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OneMinutesJr workshop in Osh, Kyrgyzstan - Day One

© Alexander Safronov / 2010
At the UNICEF OneMinutesJr training-of-trainers in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

by Chris Schuepp

OSH, Kyrgyzstan - November 17, 2010 - 20 boys and girls from Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, have come together today to start a four-day OneMinutesJr video workshop. The topic of the training is "peace-building" and it brings together teenagers from the two main ethnic groups in the south of this Central Asian country, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.

After the tragic events earlier this year (read more), when hundreds of people died in ethnic clashes in the south of Kyrgyzstan, this is one of the first more ambitious attempts to bring these groups back together. The workshop was first scheduled for August, but the situation then was still too tense. Even now, the burnt ruins of houses and shops remind visitors and locals alike of the fragility of the seemingly peaceful atmosphere.

In the past two days, we have already trained future trainers here in Osh. The NGO workers, journalists and education specialists who worked with us in the training-of-trainers were also mainly from Osh, Jalal-Abad and other cities in the south, where the ethnic violence broke out. In the videos they produced during the short training, they tried not to talk too much about the events but focused on child rights in general.

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2010
Nurzada, a young OneMinutesJr participant from Osh, is presenting her story idea to the trainers.

However, this changes today as soon as we start talking to the teenagers about their stories. After a quick round of mutual introductions, it is Khojiakbar (15), who tells us the story of his friend who died during the fatal clashes in June. Now Khojiakbar wants to produce a film in which he writes a letter to his deceased friend and at the end he sends the letter in form of a paper plane from the top of the Sulayman-Too Sacred Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the center of Osh.

Daut (17) has a more positive story on offer: He will show a minibus full of people that breaks down in the middle of the road. The passengers get out and together push the bus so it can continue its way. The bus has a sign saying "Destination Osh" and the passengers and fellow "bus-pushers" are both Uzbek and Kyrgyz.

Altogether, the 20 participants will produce 20 short films over the course of the next four days. Today we focus on the story development and from tomorrow on, the teenagers will go out to film their videos here in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.





OneMinutesJr in Osh


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