With a background in Childhood Studies and Children’s Rights, Senior Fellow Magdalini Alexandropoulou started a Girls Group (nine students) in spring 2018 with the motto “Strong Girls – Strong Dreams” (in German: “Starke Mädchen – Starke Träume“). The girls attended a Berlin school for children with learning difficulties, as many of the children came from vulnerable contexts. The group gave the girls, who are a minority in their own schools, a space to feel empowered and confident. The group met once per week and offered a safe space for discussions about various issues and general concerns that the girls had.
“The implementation of this project in Greece, is a personal challenge for me in order to take an active role in the field of children’s human rights in my home country.”
With the girls, Magdalini explored the main principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that include the right to be heard (Article 12), to privacy (Article 16), and to protection from abuse and neglect (Article 19). The girls also discussed questions related to self-determination, puberty and sexuality, identity and gender and conflicts that they face in their everyday lives. For the group work, Magdalini relied on various pedagogical approaches and materials, such as Compasito, the Manual on Human Rights Education for Children by the Council of Europe and activities like assembling collages, drawings, music and movement.
“Children are allowed to say NO!”
Sessions of the group in 2018 also included a workshop on the prevention of child maltreatment.
Here the discussion evolved around the integrity of and self-determination over one’s own body. That day, the girls had been asked to point out or draw the area where they definitely do not want to be touched and to find different ways of saying “NO!” On October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child, the group participated in an event “We Girls Are…” organized by the Cultural Centre of the Berlin neighborhood of the school.
Last but not least, the workshop on “The Beauty of Diversity” explored questions related to diversity, identity and beauty as a social construction through a collage that explored two main questions: “What does beauty mean to me?” and “What does it mean to be different?“
The Girls Group will continue its activities based on the questions that the students suggested in a wish box that will be integrated into the curriculum. She intends to broaden her project to serve all students of the school in Berlin and to potentially bring the project to Greece.