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Rosa raises her voice and rallies for peace through film

In her own words, 16-year-old Rosa of Colombia shares how Because I am a Girl supporters are helping victims of violence recover their voices, power and equal opportunities. Read her story and her personal thanks to you:

My name is Rosa and I am 16 years old. I came to live in the Pacific coast a year ago after my mom’s death. The change of city, home and school was very traumatic. I felt that my life was chaotic.

More than 50 years of armed conflict in Colombia has robbed millions of youth – especially girls like Rosa – of their essential rights to equal opportunities, education and protection. In 2018 alone, 293 children (nearly one child a day) were recruited by armed groups, limiting their potential and futures.

Ruth

At first, it was difficult to relate to my dad, siblings, classmates and teachers. However, the support of Plan International with the “Leading for Peace” project helped me a lot; with the theater activities, the exhibitions and audio-visual workshops.

As a Because I am a Girl ally, you are supporting the Leading for Peace project and youth like Rosa to rebuild, reconcile and rise anew from violence by helping:

  • Open opportunities for girls’ participation and expression, from sport to film
  • Form gender inclusive youth savings groups and businesses
  • Mobilize community action and influence institutional policies to better protect and integrate girls and youth.

Leading for Peace is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

It has helped me to relate to others, and I have also noticed the change in my companions. The ones who have participated in the project are kinder, more sociable, empowered, respectful and dynamic.

Over 67,000 people in 56 schools attended theatre and audio-visual events you helped establish – promoting peace, protection and equality to help reshape lives in conflict-torn regions, where tensions and mistrust had often prevailed. Today, Rosa is one of over 270 girls and boys participating in theatre, art or film groups – which provide girls with skills training and therapeutic opportunities for their voices to be heard and valued as equal team members.

Art

The short film was a change of routine for me, knowing that I could get to know other places. For me, it was a beautiful thing. Before nobody knew me, I didn’t connect – but with the shoot, affection grew among us, we connected through this program. Many children, like me, can experience new things. The time in the workshops are opportunities to learn. Art serves to show what we want without resorting to violence.

Rosa and the film group you helped support produced a short film, Enseñanza de Vida (Life Teaching), that was shown to over 330 people in her community and screened in several film festivals throughout Colombia – providing a platform for those who have been displaced by and exposed to the violence, helping shift mindsets and proving girls’ belong wherever they choose.

Film Poster
Film

Rosa and her fellow film crew at her short film screening

 

Because of the project, the relationship with my family changed, they all changed towards me. My story with Plan International changed my life because ever since I lost my mother, I had not been the same, it was difficult for me. The short film allowed me to write what I had lived. I was able to overcome that grief. I know that it will help others who have lived the same things I have! The project taught us to see things differently, to take the right standpoint.

Rosa is on the road to recovery, and she’s not the only one! You are helping engage over 1,400 people – from parents to government officials – to build protective spaces for girls to prevent sexual violence and early pregnancy.

Girl & Boy

The audiovisual workshops also helped me to appreciate small moments. I learned values, to listen, to respect difference, to draw, to appreciate nature. For the first time during filming, I put my feet into the sea! It was a wonderful experience; I had never done that.

“It is very important that the voices of girls living in rural areas are heard, because we are the ones affected by the armed conflict. And we are the ones that can transform Colombia.” – a newly empowered and protected girl

“Art and culture have everything to do with the peace process because it gives us freedom, it creates peace. It raises awareness and it encourages reconciliation. Art creates better human beings.” – Katherine, a young creator

art&theather

With the short film and the experiences I’ve gained, doors have opened and could be used in the future. My family is closer. My dad attended all the shoots: for me his support was unexpected, now he sees me differently.

You even helped establish 26 community workshops reaching adolescent boys and men like Rosa’s father and Yesimar to promote gender equality and fight harmful expressions of masculinity.

“I can say I have had a transformation as a man, physically and mentally. I have become a man with values, respectful of women and men. The truth is it can be done.” – Yesimar, a Champion of Change.

Thank you, Leading for Peace and sponsors.

Rosa

 

 

Because YOU believe in and uphold girls’ power, Rosa can now realize and unleash her own.

Thank you on behalf of all the girls you are backing in Colombia, and around the world, as a Because I am a Girl supporter and champion of girls’ rights.

Next time we’ll take you to Uganda, where your ongoing contributions are on the ground today to help girls access their vital right to health resources. Stay tuned to meet Uganda’s inspiring young women.

*Name changed for protection purposes.