Preventing domestic violence in Sao Tome and Principe was the big subject of the play “Mal me quer”, presented to the public last November by a group of children from the San Toméan District of Guadalupe.
This initiative, which IMVF joined through the project School +, was co-produced by Theatre Arado – a cultural association of Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal) and UNICEF and aimed to help the school community of Sao Tome to identify domestic violence and its consequences and also encourage the reporting of the perpetrators.
Premiered on November the 18th, in the CACAU space (Sao Tome), this visual drama was implemented by children and for children, involving a group of fifteen students of the 7th grade of the school of Guadalupe, who presented “Mal me quer” in four schools in the country – Neves, Santana and Trindade, in addition to their one school. The play reached more than 2,500 children and young people and presented behaviours which prevent and deny abuse, proposing instead a model of healthy relationships.
This initiative, framed in the 2nd International Benjamins Festival – theatre for children and youth was not limited to a play but was a process that finished with the play. In three moments, the aim was to stimulate and encourage children to express a critical view of the world: 1.through training in therapeutic expressive arts; 2. then in the rehearsal; 3. and finally, after an intense month of work in the public presentation of this play.
Raising awareness on domestic violence is one of the themes that project School + has given more attention, and was, in fact, integrated into school curricula as a result of the recent curriculum revision promoted by the project itself. Through the Curriculum Enrichment Programmes of the 7th grade specific topics on Heath Education have been addressed – such as violence in different contexts, living in safely and also to be able to identify and respond to abusive approaches – this in a country where domestic violence is still a taboo.