Teenagers who live under poverty conditions or have committed crimes are now participating in a new project developed by the School of Communication at the University of Havana.
The idea is to make them reflect on family relations, their neighborhoods and school settings.
Reporter Rodolfo Romero told SEMlac that the initial beneficiaries included teenagers at reformatories under the umbrella of the Minors Division at the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), with the support of the Ministry of Education and other local institutions.
These adolescents had in the past been involved in prostitution, drug trafficking, gangs, theft, and even murder.
Speaking of human relations and gender issues
Thalía is a 16-year-old girl who has experienced sexual harassment and family violence herself.
“There are men who believe that they really own women. My godfather, for example, often hits my aunt,” she told SEMlac.
Speaking of power relations and violence with teenagers necessarily has to include problems associated with sexuality and gender.
Zulema Tanquero, a social communication specialist working for the project, highlighted the need to approach cross-cutting issues over these discussions.
Both Romero and Tanquero recognized the difficulty that the technical language of feminist theories poses to the work with adolescents and young people.
They referred to stereotypes that are often reproduced, including the subordination of women to men, discrimination against homosexuals, and bullying.
The project gathers together over 50 voluntary university students, professors and new graduates.
It has benefited around 300 teenagers in seven provinces, mainly at reformatories.
It has also benefited secondary school students in Centro Habana and Habana Vieja, two municipalities with inadequate infrastructure and poverty situations.
“We have produced 13 audiovisual materials. The idea behind them is to encourage youngsters to reflect on their daily actions and help them make their way in life,” Lezcano concluded.