The OneMinutesJr workshop crew is on the road again - this time we are spending a week in the small city Străşeni, 20 kilometers west of the Moldovan capital Chisinau.
The venue for this week's workshop is the Străşeni boarding school educational base and home for about 350 children from 1st to 9th grade.
A group of 21 young girls and boys has gathered today in classroom IX-a to start the audio-visual story-telling workshop. By the end of the week they will have written, filmed and edited their personal OneMinutesJr videos, films exactly 60 seconds in duration. All children have different stories to tell, there are different reasons why they are in the boarding school and they all feel differently about being there.
The films, once produced, will be used by UNICEF Moldova to raise awareness for the dreams and the problems of children living in institutions. They will also be shown at a regional conference in Chisinau in November this year. Similar to the workshop and the conference on children in institutions in Central Asia earlier this year, the films will become an important tool in ensuring that the views of young people are part of the decision-making process.
The workshop is held in Russian - all the children understand Russian, although some of them feel more comfortable speaking Romanian. The trainers are all Russian-speakers, so there is no need for translations. Only at the end, the films will be translated into English so they can also be shown to an international audience and streamed on the Internet. After and introductory round, the trainers show films from the recent workshops in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Then it is already time for the children to take over and present their story ideas individually to the trainers.
We always try to encourage the children to tell their own, true stories. Sometimes we wish it wasn't so... The second participant who tells us what she wants to film is 16-year old Doina. She says she wants to sit on Jupiter. And then jump. We are wondering what this is all about and keep asking her. Doina refuses to tell us but says she will write it down. It turns out that her step-father keeps beating her and her mother and that her mother tried to commit suicide a week ago. And now Doina wants to jump. Together we develop a plan how we can film her story nicely without having to fly to Jupiter. At the same time, we are thinking about how we can prevent Doina from having thoughts like this and what can be done to further help her get over these bad feelings.
Next in line is Alexandru (14) who is in the boarding school because both his parents are alcoholics. Alena (15) is here because she was repeatedly beaten by her mother. And just as thought it could not get any worse, Oxana (15) comes along and tells us her story. Her mother killed her father and went to jail. She moved into a second family and history almost repeated itself when the second mother got violent. Oxana is crying while she is telling her story. But she is determined to turn it into a short movie this week. To help others overcome a situation like that and to send a signal to parents to think twice before they harm each other and their children.