Bruno, 12, being interviewed by Channel 12 News
What will you do in your house to treat others well?
“When my mom tells me to make my bed and I´ll help her.” - Florencia, public elementary school
“I´m going to try to not reflect my problems in how I treat my family members.” - Florencia Garcia, private high school
“Speak kindly to my mom and treat her well. Ask her how she is doing.” - Enzo Gomez, elementary school
“Look for ways to say things without using violence. Be more united.“ - Natali Sotiel, center for at-risk youth
The advocacy campaign “A Deal for Ideal Interactions” this year emphasized that ‘healthy interactions start in my house,´ an assertion that provokes reflection for each individual – young and old – who come into contact with the campaign´s message. 2013 marked the eleventh year of the campaign against violence toward children and adolescents. The advocacy efforts are carried out by adolescents who believe change is possible and want to be proactive in making a difference in their society. And since 83% of Uruguayan adults say they have mistreated a child or adolescent, it is a cause worth investing in.
This year, thanks to your support, more than 1,000 adolescents representing more than 200 organizations were able to participate in workshops to learn about their rights, how identify mistreatment and abuse in their homes and schools, and to learn practical tools for peaceful conflict resolution. The teens took what they learned back to their organizations to teach their peers. Working alongside adult supervisors, they taught within private schools, public schools, technical schools, church youth groups, centers for at-risk youth, youth centers, etc. More than 3,000 children and adolescents from 13 of Uruguay´s 19 departments joined the advocacy campaign.
After reflection and training within the organization, the public awareness campaign began. Adolescent volunteers mobilized and symbolically “vaccinated” over 60,000 thousand Uruguay adults against violence. These adults – by accepting the candy “vaccination” and signing the vaccination card – commit to treat children and adolescents well. They are encouraged to start living out their commitment with concrete actions within their own homes, such as eating a meal as a family at least once a day. Uruguay´s Department of Childhood and Adolescence, Department of Social Development, National Congress, and Department of Young Adults are some of the many supporters of the advocacy campaign that were symbolically “vaccinated” by adolescent volunteers. Three of the major news stations in the capital city of Montevideo supported the campaign´s message by using commercial space to show statistics of the situation of violence in the country and ask viewers to promote healthy interactions within their homes and in the society at large.
Adolescents are often ostracized and criminalized, but in Uruguay, there are thousands of young people who are changing that image and looking for a different, violence-free future for their country. They have joined efforts to advocate for this different tomorrow, and are holding adults – politicians, teachers, and family members – accountable for their actions. Societal change is difficult, but if we begin with the little things in our own daily interactions, it is possible.
If you would like to continue to give to this advocacy campaign, please contribute to our project “Empower 3,000 adolescents in violence prevention” on GlobalGiving.org
Training for teens in rural Uruguay
Sofia "vaccinating" the head of the gov department
School kids and policeman giving "hug" to stadium
Mateo explaining the advocacy campaign
Adolescent promoters of healthy interactions