The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
“The Smile of the Child” organized a discussion on how to build healthy intimate relationships among children and teenagers
Teenagers present their experience and work to the European Parliament on how to build healthy intimate relationships
The “European Anti-Violence Network” and “The Smile of the Child” organized a discussion on how to build healthy intimate relationships among children and teenagers. The event, titled “The GEAR against IPV approach - Gender Equality Awareness Raising against Intimate Partner Violence: Empowering new generations to build healthy intimate relationships” was hosted MEP Francesc Gambús on 21 November 2017 at the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels.
The aim of the event was to present and share with members of the European Parliament the material, methodology, interventions and results of the evaluation process, developed within the framework of the EU-funded project “Building Health Intimate Relationships (GEAR against IPV approach)" which was implemented in 5 European countries, namely in Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia and Spain.
The event was greeted by Costas Yannopoulos, President of "The Smile of the Child" and Kiki Petroulaki, President of the “European Anti-Violence Network” who both underscored the importance of children’s participation to programs that contribute to building healthy intimate relationships that are free from any form of violence.
During the event representatives of the project’s beneficiaries, including teachers and teenagers from the 1st Junior High School of Agios Nikolaos (Crete) and the Home of “Τhe Smile of the Child” in Aigion (Greece) shared their direct experience and work as part of the project. Teenagers who participated to the activities of the project explained why it was so important for them to learn on how to protect themselves and assert their rights. In addition, they stressed the importance to help others towards the same goal, while all participants agreed on the added value of this initiative in building healthy relationships with their peers." I think that all of you would feel happy to know that I finally learned how to claim my rights and protect myself by offering support at the same time to other children" said one of the children.
Teachers took also part in the meeting sharing their own experience and point of view through the implementation of the methodology. “After two years, the experiences that we obtained through the project are still present and up to a certain point define my attitude, not only as a teacher, but also as a parent and human being” said Ms. Maria Karakou, teacher from the region of Crete, Greece while she added: “I hope that our experience will contribute to highlighting the importance to include the GEAR against IPV approach into the official high school programme. It should be treated as a very important subject and gain the support of teachers that are trained by the European Anti-violence Network”.
Ms. Dora Triantafyllopoulou, teacher at one of the Homes of “The Smile of the Child” in Aigion, said: “I was watching, all those gender stereotypes and I cannot find words to describe my joy when a 9-year-old girl told us that she wanted to join a football team –she has proved to be a great talent, by the way! It was her dream that she had not expressed before, because she was taught to believe that only boys can practice this sport in an organized manner. It is so great to see a child “unlocking” herself in this way!”
The meeting focused on policy perspectives for the prevention of violence through the empowerment of children in recognizing the role of equality in their relationships. In addition, participants looked into the key factors that lead to the active engagement and participation of teenagers and children in the awareness raising and empowerment activities of this initiative.