Indigenous adolescents are living a very complex stage of their lives. Patriarchal, macho culture had ignored women's values and dignity. From a very young age they were taught to believe themselves to be inferior to men and, therefore, subject to their authority.
This cultural concept has led to an abundance of pregnancies among young people between the ages of 11 and 12 in indigenous communities, many of them the result of rape committed by adults in their families. These violations remained in complete impunity and the young woman had to face all the social and economic consequences of bringing life into the world. They left school and had to dedicate themselves to working the rest of their lives in the lowest paying jobs in the region.
For some time we have been teaching indigenous children the rights of women and the right that everyone has to say NO to adult sexual abuse and violence. We have strengthened the self-esteem of young people and, in alliance with school teachers, we have promoted changes in the educational system to make comprehensive sexual education a topic that is present in the teaching that is taught in those schools.
INDIGENOUS CHILDREN BUILDING RIGHTS IN COMMUNITIES
Indigenous children have become defenders of peace, human rights and women's rights in communities. Through their programs on community stations such as "Positiva Estéreo" or school stations such as "Calle larga" they promote rights and denounce problems that have been tried to be hidden, such as gender violence and child abuse.
In some communities belonging to the San Andrés indigenous council, cases of 10, 11, and 12-year-old girls who become pregnant due to abuse by adults around them continue to be reported. These situations cannot continue in social oblivion. Children have taken up the defense of the victims, denouncing all these serious social offenses, all these crimes. It is not an easy task but community children have discovered power that gives them access and management of communication media such as radio
Zenu indigenous children are deepening their training not only in their rights but also in the rights of women and groups excluded from Colombian society. They begin to understand concepts such as gender equality and to accept that they need to change language, behaviors, thoughts that defend or promote the supposed inferiority of women
. This work of gender awareness training has been done through artistic means such as painting, theater, music, puppets and communication media such as indigenous community radio stations. At the station "Positiva Estéreo" in San Andrés de Sotavento, children have programs that they produce themselves. In these programs, issues such as gender equality and women's rights are studied, while the non-compliance of children's rights by authorities, communities, families and the State itself continues to be denounced.
CEPALC and indigenous youth from communities in the Córdoba region have been working in themes of gender relations, identity, historical memory, and human rights from the prospective of women.
At the Cruz Chiquita Educational Institute in Tuchín, we recently did a new theater production on cultural traditions focusing on ancestral medicine and remedies that are often more accessible to the community.
In the Calle Larga school in San Andrés de Sotavento, we are working on a process of radio shows on the topic of ancestral heritage and connecting these traditions to younger generations. We’ve finished various podcasts as well as continued producing content for their radio program Positiva Estereo, the radio station from the San Andrés de Sotavento Communicators Collective.
Students from the INETADOTA school who are participating in comprehensive sex education courses are also working on radio production. They are continuing their training and education on topics of sexuality, reproductive health, pregnancy prevention, menstruation, identity, intimacy, and sexual and reproductive rights especially with teen girls.
In La Siria, located in San Andrés de Sotavento, we are continuing to empower women in their economic rights for real female autonomy and completing trainings in women’s sovereignty from a young age. Women are changing machista ideas and are being recognized at the frontlines of social and economic change.
SHARING INDIGENOUS TRADITIONS THROUGH THEATER AND RADIO
Indigenous children from communities belonging to the council of San Andrés de Sotavento have dedicated these months to studying the legends and traditions of their Zenu people with a purpose: to make street theater plays or comparsas based on them to show the great cultural wealth that possess their indigenous communities and how these legends and traditions have become the bases or foundations of their ethnic identity.
Likewise, children have been carrying out radio programs on "Positiva Estéreo" and other school and indigenous radio stations in the region about their traditions, their history and their rights as communities and as a child population.
Within the rights of children, radio programs have emphasized the right to love and protect their bodies from adult abuse; to report these abuses when they occur. Likewise, children have understood that they have the right to be part of a family, of a community, that they cannot be discriminated against because of their ethnic origin and that they, like the other children in Colombia, have the right to happiness.
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