Romania sees its youth population as a valuable asset and a powerful source of change, but recognises that their energy and skills need harnessing in order to achieve a sustained culture of peace and non-violence.
In 2009, together with its colleagues in Belgium, the Romanian Red Cross launched a pilot programme called ‘Humanitarian Values’, teaching volunteers to educate 10-20 year olds in values including tolerance, respect towards others and the acceptance of minorities.
Supported by a €100,000 donation from the Lebara Foundation, the Romanian Red Cross has been able to continue the programme; with volunteers, trained as peer educators, delivering workshops in schools. The workshops encourage critical thinking and team work; engaging young people through the use of movie clips, quizzes, role-play, debates, speeches and simulations.
To date five training sessions have been held, with 55 volunteers now qualified to deliver the programme in schools. A total of 80 classes have been engaged, reaching 1,883 students between 10 and 19 years old. Over the next few months more essential work will be undertaken, including further training of teachers and students.
Youths across Romania are being empowered to contribute to their community by changing the mindsets and behaviours of their peers, motivating many thousands of responsible young citizens to pass it on to many more.