Every child has the right to be treated fairly no matter who they are, where they are from, what language they speak, what they believe or where they live.

On the 15th and 16th of February, Kopin organised a Youth Facilitators’ training in Valletta. Six people aged 16-24 had a training session on Gender Based Violence (GBV) Awareness, as part of our BRIDGE project.

BRIDGE is a two-year project led by “Terres des hommes – Lausanne” Regional Office in Budapest, together with partners across Europe, with the aim to enhance accurate data on GBV against children and youth, to train people to become professionals to raise awareness,to support and promote learning on GBV in regional communities, and to empower children and youth on the move to build positive relationships, understand and become aware of GBV and how to report, prevent, and address it.

After an introduction, it was time to lay down the facts. Shocking numbers were shown to get some perspective on just how many unaccompanied minors are on the move right now. UNICEF tracked child asylum seekers between January and September 2017, and the results showed that there are 158,215 child asylum seekers across Europe.

Gender Based Violence is a broad concept,  which includes many different categories: sexual abuse, violence, rape, emotional and physical abuse, trafficking and forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage.

When it was time to divide the group and brainstorm about gender-based violence, it was interesting to see what people came up with. It was clear that for the group “girls” it was not too hard to think of possible ways a girl could be violated based on her gender. However, the group “boys” felt like most of the things they mentioned, if not all of them, applied to boys too. One of the participants stated that ”it’s just something that is not being spoken about openly” as if society tries to let us think it is not there.

Another interesting activity which was carried out was the “Power Walk”. Everyone got assigned a role, and individually they had to determine if the statements that were being read out loud, applied to them. If yes, they were requiredto take a step up the stairs. If no, they had to stay where they were. Endgame: there was a huge division in who was at the top – a 38-year-old doctor – and who was at the bottom – a  5-year-old girl who was on the move with her parents. This exercise was to show just how big the division between people can be, and the staircase made it feel like that too. People at the bottom could not even see the ones who were standing at the top.

It was an educational weekend where personal stories were shared. GBV is an important topic that needs to be spoken about. It can happen to anyone, and children and youth on the move are particularly vulnerable. After this weekend, we have at least some new trained youth facilitator who learned how to observe and listen, openly discuss, and encourage people to talk about GBV.


To read more about the BRIDGE project, check out our “current projects” page, or click here.

To read The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, click here.


Article by Zoë Grivel

Photos taken during the Youth Facilitator Training, the first day (15thof February, 2020).