To mark Youth Week 2015, Shakti Youth launched the “Find Your Voice” campaign at “RE-GENERATE” to highlight the experiences of children and young people witnessing violence. This was a night of powerful speakers and poetry that created a space for voices, which are not often heard; voices which are often ignored or silenced.
Find Your Voice was initiated in honour of Rana and Sidra Malik, a mother and daughter who were murdered in Ranui last year. Sidra was 18 years old when she was killed at the hands of her father. We remember them with this campaign by reaching out to all the other young people who may be dealing with similar issues in their homes. We were honoured to hear Rida, the sister of Sidra speak about her experiences of her father. Rida described herself as a fighter, but when she talked to people about the psychological torture, and nobody would understand because it was not physical abuse.
Sehar opened the launch by sharing her personal story and journey experiencing family violence in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Our Shakti Youth team presented on the different aspects of the project: what was learnt through the research, which involved consultations with safehouse staff, counsellors and focus groups in four different high schools across Auckland.
The poets, Oksana and M, shared powerful and evocative poems that strike at the heart of the issue and gave insights in how young people experience and interpret domestic violence. You can read Oksana’s poem “I See” on our blog.
The launch ended with a video about depression made by Mehwish and Sehar. The Unseen Shadow drew attention to the importance of support and friendship.
The posters will be pasted around central Auckland near high schools to reach out to more young people who may be dealing with violence at home. The new resources developed will be distributed to high schools around Auckland and used as talking tools for workshops to increase awareness. We plan to mobilise youth to join the movement to end the cycles of family violence.
If you would like to help us distribute the posters and brochures, or would like us to do a workshop at your school or community group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Find Your Voice’ project is a Shakti Youth campaign developed to raise awareness about the effects on children and young people witnessing violence in an abusive relationship between their parents, with a focus on Asian, Middle Eastern and African youth in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We aim to encourage other young people to start challenging the occurrence of family violence, which is still normalised amongst Asian, Middle Eastern and African communities. We can bring about greater hopes of eliminating family violence and culturally sanctioned abuse against women, girls, and children in the generations to come.
Thank you to all the schools, students, artists and graphic designers that participated in this project: Auckland Girls Grammar School, Lynfield College, Aorere College, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Tema Pua and Kirk Prowys. Special thanks to Auckland Council for funding this campaign.