Violence is not in fashion in Ungheni and Cahul
16 Days of activism to end violence against women and girls campaign
‘Violence is NOT in Fashion!’, ‘Colour the World Orange!’ and ‘Break the Silence!’ are some of the key messages of the ‘16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ campaign, organised annually from 25 November to 10 December. These messages were promoted and supported by young men and women from Ungheni and Cahul districts, where, on 29 November and 5 December, the finals of the END VIOLENCE educational games tournament took place, organised under the EVA project ‘Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts’, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF Moldova.
Gheorghe Trofin, Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Moldova, stressed the importance of fighting stereotypes about violence and encouraging young people to be the driving force for change in society.
‘The EVA Project focuses on the empowerment of adolescents and young people. The educational games proved to be an excellent way to enliven and motivate young people in Cahul and Ungheni to address and combat stereotypes about violence. We hope that the messages and the energy that was gathered here, will reach as many young people as possible.’
Both in Ungheni and in Cahul, young people from different educational institutions formed 15 teams each and aimed to prove that they had knowledge about violence against girls and women, that they knew how to prevent abuse and how to act when they witness a situation of violence. Even if it was a contest with winners, the friendship won in the end and the key aim of the activity – to promote the elimination of violence against women – was achieved, said the young people.
The phenomenon of violence is not unknown to Ungheni teenagers
‘We have been preparing for a long time, although the phenomenon of violence is not unknown to us. Day bay day, we hope that these activities that we attend and carry out in the educational institutions and in the community, will get us closer to gender equality and will help us prevent any case of violence. Many people think that this is not a topical issue, but, in fact, violence, especially domestic violence, is a very common thing and I think that projects of this kind are a necessity,’ said Alexandru Arhire, a student in the 11th grade at Vasile Alecsandri Theoretical High School from Ungheni. Alexandru was part of the team ‘Miron’, which won the first place in the quiz.
Natalia Ranețcaia, Deputy Director for Education at ‘Vasile Alecsandri’ Theoretical High School from Ungheni, told us that students from their institution engage in such educational games quite often, both at regional and national level.
‘We were extremely delighted and also happy to host this event for young people from Ungheni. Children are our future and, of course, the way they will continue to develop depends on how we prepare them for life. I think this event will definitely have a positive impact,’ she said.
Valeria Martiniuc is a student in the 11th grade at ‘Vasile Alecsandri’ Theoretical Lyceum of Ungheni, who participated in the quiz together with her classmates and her coordinating teacher. Her team, ‘Superlativii’, won the second place, which Valeria told us motivated them even more to organise such activities in their lyceum.
‘I will try to organise a similar project in my school because we do not have such activities at the moment. I think this quiz served as a wake-up call for young people, it made them look around and realize that we have such problems in our society that need to be tackled in order to avoid them getting worse,’ said Valeria Martiniuc.
The young woman encouraged young men and women to talk freely and openly about abuse with family members, classmates or teachers. Valeria said that the Child Helpline is a very important tool that helped her prevent a case of domestic violence.
‘I gave my friend this number because she had a problem in her family. And that's when I told her, “rather than sit and suffer, you'd better call this number – it's confidential”.’ As a result, the problem in the family has been fixed and she is doing well,’ the teenager told us.
The Child Helpline 116 111 is a free, anonymous and confidential service that provides counselling and psycho-emotional support, guidance in the field of children's rights, advice in the field of child protection, guidance and referral to the institutions able to provide the necessary assistance.
In Cahul, Young Men and Women Promote Anti-Violence and Gender Equality
Gathered in the festivities hall of the State University ‘Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu’ from Cahul, the students participating in the quiz were enthusiastic about the nature of the activity, took pictures in front of the thematic stand, mentioning that by publishing those pictures on social media they wanted to speak to the local community of young people about the importance of preventing violence against women and girls, and, at the same time, to inspire other young people to join the campaign.
‘This is the first time I participated in a quiz like this. It was a new experience for me, which helped my personal development. I learned many new things and I made all the effort to win. Recently, I became the Deputy President of the Student Council and during may two-year mandate I intend to organise such contests in our lyceum.
When we know or we hear about cases of violence, we need to inform the school administration, to go to Local Public Authorities or to the police so that the problem can be solved as quickly as possible. In our school, information sessions were organised about the Child Helpline and we were also told about how to report cases of violence,’ said Bianca Gorlenco, a student at the ‘Mihai Eminescu’ Theoretical High School from Cahul municipality.
Attending the events dedicated to young people, the local decision-makers appreciated the involvement of students in this kind of non-formal education activities.
According to Valeriu Baban, Head of the Cahul General Education Department, the phenomenon of domestic violence and violence in society is always on the radar of the employees of the Education Department, which aims to prevent and eliminate it using various tools and methods of action.
‘We have become aware of some cases of verbal violence. We try not to be indifferent. We immediately get in touch with that institution, try to identify the problem and prevent situations that we anticipate may occur. I want to ask young people not to be indifferent. And in this regard, I am also appealing to the Students' Council, which has an important role to play as an institution. Things are different in places where the Student Council works’, told us Valeriu.
The young men and women from Ungheni and Cahul said that they will continue to participate in activities to promote gender equality and combat violence so that every girl and woman feels safe and protected.
The EVA Project – ‘Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts’, funded by the European Union, co-funded by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) implemented in partnership with UNICEF Moldova, is implemented during 2020-2022 in Cahul and Ungheni districts. Local public authorities, members of multidisciplinary teams responsible for preventing and combating domestic violence and violence against children, service providers working with victims of domestic violence and in child protection, assistance and counselling services for perpetrators, schools, civil society organisations, mass media, children and young people, parents, as well as women and men living in these districts are involved in these activities.