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Strumica School Children Speak out against Violence in Schools

Children participating in the theatar play applaud at the end of the performance

 Strumica, 15 February 2012: Parents and children, teachers, civil society representatives and local government officials, as well as representatives of the municipal education department and UNICEF together watched a new play addressing the issues of violence in schools prepared and performed by thirty eight children from the elementary school “Sando Masev” in Strumica. 

This theater play came out as a part of the school strategy to involve the whole community to create a  positive school atmosphere and to raise awareness on the different forms of violence affecting students in schools.  Led by a young artist Sasho Ristovski children age seven to fourteen performed roles based on real cases of violence that they witnessed or were involved in.

“Violence in schools is a problem in every country, but it is a problem that can be prevented, “said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative.  “Far too often the reaction of school administrators, political leaders, and families is to pretend that nothing happened.  But turning a blind eye does not make the issue go away.  ”

“Violence in schools can only be addressed effectively with the active engagement of all: parents, teachers, school administration and other members of the community, “ continued Mr. Yett  In an opening  address to the audience. “Children themselves need to actively participate in an open and honest discussion about violence in schools.”

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science, UNICEF is supporting the rollout of a package of system wide interventions to make schools safe and protective environments where children thrive and where everybody - children, teachers, school staff and parents - feel safe, valued, and respected.
Teaching staff from “Sando Masev” elementary school were also involved in the UNICEF supported training programme on how to respond to and reduce violence in schools.  Following the training each school was provided with guidance on conducting a self-evaluation implementing appropriate policies and monitoring the impact.

“Our prevention strategy was product of a self-evaluation team effort which included debates around the issues of violence and workshops with students.  One of the main findings was that we need to speak out openly about different forms of violence and that we need to focus on creating a culture of positive behavior.  We decided to start by listening to what children have to say,” said the Director of the school Ms. Lidija Manuseva. 

UNICEF “Schools free of Violence” system-wide programme is being conducted with governmental and civil society partners to address the issue of violence in schools.  UNICEF is also supporting the development of a national policy, strategy, and guidance to help schools assess the problem and address violence in their school communities.  School staff and teachers are also being trained to help them implement a “whole school approach” to prevent and reduce violence and to help teachers apply “behaviour for learning” techniques in classroom settings.  It is expected that all primary schools will be trained by the end of the 2011/2012 school year.  These interventions build on, and complement the Life-Skills Education curriculum developed earlier to enhance communication and conflict resolution.

The “Schools free of Violence” programme is being jointly funded by IKEA as a contribution to the national Child-Friendly Initiative and the UN Trust Fund as a contribution to the UN Joint Project “Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence.”

For more information contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje, (02) 3231-150 (ext :127),
072  236 725 or or Irina Ivanovska, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231 150 (107), 072 236 722 or





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