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Saying no to violence against children in the school environment

2011-01-27

Albania, December 2010: Violence in the school environment is a daily reality for many Albanian children, affecting both boys and girls in its various conspicuous and subtle forms including physical, emotional and psychological abuse. Whilst children are inherently entitled to their fundamental right of protection against all forms of violence, the primary responsibility rests with their parents, guardians, careers and educators to fully respect their rights and ensure their proper protection. That is why in the framework of developing a child protection safety net, Terre des hommes Delegation in Albania supported a number of activities tackling the issue of violence against children in the school environment, which took place throughout December 2010 in 29 public schools in the cities of Fier, Durrës, Elbasan, Korça and Tirana.
Targeting children, education personnel, parents, school psychologists and directors, these activities sought to raise awareness on various forms of violence experienced by children within the school environment, as well as on the negative impact such violence can have on child development and well-being. Some of these activities were organized in close collaboration with the local Child Protection Workers and the local government specialists from the respective Domestic Violence Units. Powerful presentations, the distribution of posters and leaflets, exhibitions of drawings made by children and group discussions were some of the ways in which clear messages were disseminated against violence being seen as a means of disciplining children in the school.

Instead, these activities sought to address the issue by encouraging positive thinking, active learning and constructive debate around children’s rights and their protection against violence. These activities also benefited from many children’s direct participation. “It was so much fun to be part of the group organizing the activity against violence in my school. We discussed our ideas and decided together on what we wanted to draw in order to show others and depict the consequences of violence on children”, said a boy from a public school in Elbasan.
Yet, aside from giving children the opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to participation by putting them in charge of designing the activities and allowing them to provide valuable input, their direct involvement also served to amplify and maximize the impact of the messages delivered.
These activities are part of Terre des hommes’ continuous efforts in Albania to assist schools and parents in playing an increasingly active role in the Development of a Child Protection Safety Net (CPSN project) in the country. [TL]