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Conference “Equality and Prevention of Gender Violence in Education”

„In order to build healthy relationships, we need education closely connected to the problems in the lives of young people, and the involvement of schools is essential” – this is the conclusion of the Gender Equality Festival,  after 3 days dedicated to the prevention of gender-based violence by promoting equality between women and men.

On Friday, October 14th, the counsellor of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Eugen Crai, and the State Secretary representing Ministry of Labour’s National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men, Ms. Andra Croitoru participated at the Conference Equality and Prevention of Gender Violence in Education”, listening to the thoughts and recommendations of the 10 high schools which tested the educational module proposed by A.L.E.G. in the school year 2015/2016. Premiere concurs Dezvatam violentaIt was no ordinary class, i.e. we did not sit at our desks listening to scientific theories. We were involved in role plays, encouraged to express our own opinions and to find solutions to actual cases of partner violence. All youngsters should go through this module, since we never talk about these things at home”, states Andrei-Gabriel Stupu, a former pupil of the “Anghel Saligny” Technical High School in Bacău, presently a pupil of the “Jean Monnet” Theoretical High School in Bucharest. Andrei and his colleagues in the 10th grade also won the grand prize of the video production competition “Unlearning Violence”. Some of their conclusions were: in a healthy relationship, the two share power, and jealousy is not proof of love! To see the video, access: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9a_m8SgBP8. A special prize went to the pupils of the “Octavian Goga” National High School, Sibiu. During the project “GEAR against Intimate Partner Violence II”, funded through the European Union Daphne Programme, A.L.E.G. Trained 55 teachers and school counsellors to implement the module; subsequently, 274 pupils in Brăila, Bacău, Cugir, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Slobozia went through the 13 hours of interactive activities. The A.L.E.G. Trainers also held a module with a group of 12 youngsters from the Sibiu “Gulliver” State Complex (including their educators), because the young people in the child protection system are vulnerable to repeated violence.  The children’s and teacher’s manuals can be downloaded at www.gear-ipv.eu. 14639833_700776973412281_4898310991858518588_nThe representatives of the two Ministries states in Sibiu that such materials and good practice examples are very necessary in Romania, which, starting this year, has the obligation to integrate violence preventive education in all levels of education, in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

In parallel to the conference, in the centre of Sibiu, volunteers holding huge letters challenged passers-by to find the “Ingredients of a Healthy Relationship”, during the activity “Choose your words!”. Over 80 people were engaged, and the most common answers were “trust” and “communication”.

On Saturday, October 15th, at the Habitus Book Store, over 80 young people, and some parents participated at the forum theatre performance, in an attempt to change the ending of a theatre play – Chalet Party – created by A.L.E.G. volunteers and inspired from real events in high school pupil’s lives. This year’s performance brought to light some of the peer pressures that nowadays young people have to deal with in their relationships, i.e. girls, having a boyfriend who supports them financially, and boys, not be seen as henpecked and break as many hearts as possible. These pressures cause trouble for the couple, and sometimes violence. In order to solve the conflict, the participants suggested changes through which the true friends of the main characters choose get involved before getting to a conflict. Coordinator: Doriana Tăut, vice-dean of the Faculty of Letters and Arts, the LBUS Department of Drama and Theatre Studies.

The film “Stockholm”, offered by Transilvania Film and the “Gender Treasure Hunt” which took place in the historical centre of the city also drew the attention of numerous youngsters eager to look beyond clichés and stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in society.

A.L.E.G. has been organizing this event for over 10 years, allowing teenagers to come up with and implement activities aimed at other youngsters. The project taking the form of a festival aims at offering teenagers access to education targeted at preventing couple violence and at promoting healthy relationships in which power is divided between the two.

The 11th edition of the Gender Equality Festival was co-founded by the Sibiu Local County and the Sibiu City Hall through the Community Agenda.

The conference Prevention of Gender Violence in Education” marks the end of the project „GEAR against Intimate Partner Violence II”, funded through the European Union Daphne III Programme.

The competition Unlearning Violence” is funded through the funds raised by runners and supporters during the 2016 Sibiu Half Marathon, a sports fundraising event of the Sibiu community organized by Fundația Comunitară Sibiu (Sibiu Community Foundation).